Successful Restoration of the Population of the European Bison in the Eastern Rhodopes
Five years so far, the European bison have been living in the Eastern Rhodopes. The restoration of their population in the area began in November 2013. Then the first five animals were brought to the village of Studen Kladenets from Germany.
In spite of the initial difficulties and the loss of some of them, the animals were successfully adapted, and in July 2015 the first of centuries in the Rhodopes European bison - was born. Over the next three years, the pair of adults got two more small babies, which shows that the animals feel good in the Rhodope nature.
In November 2017 the number of European bison in the Eastern Rhodopes grew by two more animals. So far they are seven. The newest are young and are donated by Germany.
The initial plan provides for a stepwise extension of the fence and collection of animals. Things, however, take an unexpected direction. Surprisingly, the young female showed signs that she is ready to mate earlier. Typically, the bison reach sexual maturity and begin to multiply after 2-3 years of age. This does not remain hidden for the elderly man next door - Spiro, and he decides to quickly remove the barriers between him and his new love. After several unsuccessful attempts to reach her by surrounding roads, he takes radical measures and literally breaks the fences between them. Thus the two bison started living together earlier than planned and formed a social group. Bison live in herds dominated by the oldest and most experienced female.
The European bison is one of the symbols of nature conservation in Europe. Their story is an example of how only within a hundred years a species can be brought to the brink of extinction and how, as a result of many efforts, it can be restored.
The European bison, as it is known, has disappeared from the wilderness in Bulgaria during the Middle Ages, and in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century due to hunting and loss of habitats. After a massive selection and reintroduction program for individual specimens, their populations were restored in the regions of Central and Eastern Europe, mainly in Poland and Belarus. In the sixties of the last century, a small herd of bison was reintroduced into a village of Voden in Northeastern Bulgaria.
The return of European bison in the Rhodope Mountains is part of the activities to restore and protect wildlife on the continent of Europe Network "Rewilding Europe", part of which are "Wild Rhodopes".