Bison Will Roam Forests in Germany Again

Prince to free small herd of wisents

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 2, 2013 5:47 PM CDT | Updated Apr 6, 2013 7:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – This month, a German prince will open the gates of an enclosure on his 30,000-acre spread and make a little history. Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg intends to let loose a small herd of European bison—a bull, five cows, and two calves—a move that will mark the first time the animals have roamed freely in Western Europe in about 300 years, reports NPR. The bison, called wisents, are similar in size to their American cousins, though they're taller and weigh a bit less.

"We know them from the old Western movies," says the mayor of Bad Bereleburg. "To experience them in the wild will be fascinating." The prince and his son will work with scientists at Warsaw University to track the herd and try to make sure they don't cause damage to local farms (and local cows). In time, they hope to see the herd expand and split in two. "If it doesn't work we will have to take them away, but it will work," says the younger prince.

File photo of a wisent.
File photo of a wisent.   (Flickr)
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