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European Bison

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European Bison

DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT

European bison lives in the eastern part of Europe, including Poland. It occurs in the Bieszczady Mountains, the Białowieża Forest, the Borecka Forest, the Augustów Forest and the Knyszyńska Forest, as well as in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship areas. Preferes mixed forests with wet glades.

BEHAVIOUR

Bison is a herd animal. It lives in family groups of cows, calves and youth. When the young male reaches the age of 3 years, it leaves the family herd to join the male coalition.

DIET

The diet consists of grasses, herbs, sedges, leaves, shoots and the bark of trees and shrubs. For feeding, the bison usually chooses open areas – meadows and pastures.

REPRODUCTION

The mating season begins in August. The bulls at this time do not leave the cows, making characteristic sounds. Gestation lasts almost 9 months. When May approaches, the female moves away from the herd to give birth to a calf alone. There may be several calves in a herd at the same time. Calves suck milk from different females.

GOOD TO KNOW

European bison is the largest land mammal in Europe. The bison’s fur consists of three layers, providing insulation during the winter. When it gets warmer, they shed and their coat turns lukewarm.

  • Latin name: Bison bonasus
  • IUCN –Red List – NT – near threatened
  • EEP – European Endangered Species Programme