Scottish bison to be reintroduced to wild

A SCOTTISH female bison born and raised at Kingussie’s Highland Wildlife Park has been selected to return to the wild, as part of a bid to reintroduce the species that became extinct in the wild less than 100 years ago.

Glen Rosa is one of a number of bison to be reintroduced to the wild. Picture: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

Glen Rosa, named after a Highland glen on the Isle of Arran, joined six other female bison from three other British and Irish herds at the Aspinall Foundation’s Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent before setting out on their journey to Romania.

They arrived in the country on Friday where they will spend several weeks in a large enclosure in order to acclimatise before being released into a forest reserve in the north-east of the country.

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Douglas Richardson, head of living collections for Highland Wildlife Park, said: “Glen Rosa and the other bison will join an already established herd in Vanatori Neamt Nature Park, Romania, to help augment both numbers and genetic diversity within the group.

“This is an excellent example of how zoos within the European Zoo Association’s coordinated breeding programmes are helping save species from extinction.

Glen Rosa was born at the Park on 21 July 2012 to male Tomek and female Glen Esk. She, along with all the other females born in the UK between 2010 and 2012, were selected to be part of the reintroduction due to their genetic background. The move will increase the number of females within the Nature Park.

In 1927 the European bison became extinct in the wild. A number were kept in zoos and a coordinated approach to their management was started in 1932, with the first captive-bred bison reintroduced back into the wild in 1952.

Reintroductions continue and in 2012, the total wild population had risen to over 3,000.