Rewilding Rhodopes team welcomed a newborn bison last week. Both mother and the calf are doing well, with the team monitoring the bison family on a daily basis. At birth, calves are quite small, weighing between 15 and 35 kg.
The bison calf was named Marina and is the third in the past four years in the area. Back in 2015, the same adult pair were responsible for the birth of the first bison born in the Rhodopes for centuries. Their breeding success, shows that the animals have adapted well to their local environment.
Members of the Rewilding Rhodopes team have been working on the breeding of the European bison for many years. This process started in October 2013, when five bison originating from Germany, were brought to the bison breeding site at Studen Kladenets Reservoir in the Bulgarian Rhodope Mountains core area. Despite the initial difficulties, the animals have successfully adapted and in 2015 for the first time in the Rhodopes for the first time centuries the first bison calf was born. In April 2017 the bison couple and Rewilding Rhodopes team welcomed the second offspring of the bison couple.
The European bison, a cousin of the North American bison, is the largest herbivore in Europe and a key species in the development of open forest ecosystems. The bison has become one of the symbols of nature conservation in Europe. The history of this iconic species serves as 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 can made a remarkable comeback in Europe.
The return of the bison contributes to the preservation of the wildlife in the Eastern Rhodopes, one of the richest regions of biodiversity in Europe and supports the development of the region as attractive destination for ecotourism. In Studen Kladenets rewilding area the bisons coexist with deer crows, noble deer, wolves, vultures and many other rare and endangered species.