Once driven to extinction in the wild, European bison are on their way back, thanks to captive breeding and reintroduction programs around the continent. In the latest development, half a dozen of the animals who were bred in captivity in the UK and Ireland are being sent to Romania to be reintroduced into a wild herd.
The six females were transported to Vanatori Neamt Nature Park in Romania's Carpathian Mountains, where they will become part of an existing herd and be outfitted with radio collars to track them. The other bison in the herd also came from captive park breeding programs.
The transport was accomplished by the Aspinall Foundation in partnership with the park, the European Bison breeding program and European Wilderness Society.
"This project is an example of how zoos within the European Zoo Association's co-ordinated breeding programmes are helping save species from extinction and I am delighted Highland Wildlife Park's female bison Glen Rosa will be playing her part in the continuing reintroduction of a species that had become extinct in the wild less than a century ago," said Douglas Richardson, head of living collections for Highland Wildlife Park, one of the zoos involved.
The zoos' efforts to breed animals for wild release are in stark contrast with zoos that breed animals only to keep them captive. See this post for some of the very worst examples of zoo management -- and how you can help.