Wild bison are being reintroduced to the British countryside

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When they last set foot in the UK, the Mesolithic era was coming to an end when the cave Britons discovered farming and began clearing the forests for their cattle. Today, 6,000 years later, wild bison have returned to our soil as part of a vast conservation project.

In an effort to save the European bison, a small herd of endangered animals has been reintroduced to Kent. Conservationists hope bison grazing will also help kill off redundant pines, create new sunny glades and improve insect, bird and plant diversity in the area.

To start, three females were introduced (a matriarch and two younger cows), with a male arriving in August. Each of the young cows is expected to produce one calf per year through natural breeding.

The animals are the largest land mammals in Europe and weigh up to a ton each. They are expected to kill the trees in an old pine plantation by eating their bark or rubbing against them. This dead wood should provide food for insects, which in turn will provide food for birds including nightingales and doves.

Paul Hadaway of the Kent Wildlife Trust said The Guardian“Using missing keystone species like bison to restore natural habitat processes is key to creating bio-abundance in our landscape.”

The Wildlife Trust says there are no plans to reintroduce predators such as wolves. But if those huge bison really come to life, who knows?

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