European Bison or Wisent

Latin Name Bison bonusus bonasus
Class Mammalia
Order Cetartiodactyla
Family Bovidae
IUCN status Vulnerable
Habitat Deciduous and mixed forests and adjacent meadows
Distribution Historically all lowland areas of Europe

General Information

Sadly, hunted to extinction in Europe with the last remaining wild bison being shot in 1927. They are now being re-introduced into many European countries through a successful captive-breeding programme.

Bison feed mainly on grasslands and will browse on shoots and leaves. The rutting season is from August to October with the cows giving birth to one calf 264 days later.

Fun Fact

European bison are surprisingly agile and can clear 3m wide streams or 2m high fences from a standing start

Keeper Notes

Our male Bison Wotjek, born in 2007 at Fota Park, in Ireland, joined us in June 2011. We hope to be a part of the European Captive Breeding Programme shortly.