The seven bison, one male and six females, arrived in Denmark by ferry last week. It is hoped their arrival will help Bornholm's biodiversity and also increase the number of bison. Another hope is tourism will rise with the presence of the rare bison.
"They look very well," project manager Tommy Hansen told BBC News
. The article also notes that Bornholm's environment is similar to the area in Poland where the bison were originally located. The females come from Poland's Bialowieza forest
, where most existing European bison live, and the male bull comes from Silesia.
European bison are an endangered species and few herds exist in the wild. The animals' presence was almost wiped out over the last century, and an earlier BBC piece, published in 2009
, notes the fragile existence of this species of bison, noting the European bison was "extremely vulnerable to extinction."
As Europe's heaviest land mammal, the European bison weighs up to 800 kg (approximately 1764 pounds).
Over time, especially in the post-WW I and WW II time frames, their population had dwindled as people hunted the large bison as a means of sustenance when food was scarce. The Aspinal Foundation
states, the "current wild population originates entirely from reintroduced captive stock." It is noted by the Guardian
this occurred in 1952.
With the relocation of these seven bison, it is hoped the bison will be able to be released into the wild after five years.
"We need to see how they deal with people walking around and in cars, and see if they do help the environment," Hansen said.