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Bisons coming back to Spain(?)

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Offline Petrea

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Offline Bob M

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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2010, 08:35 AM »
Interesting.  Thanks.

Bob

Offline Petrea

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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2010, 08:13 AM »
- and this morning I just read that Denmark are considering the same! They may introduce them to the island of Bornholm (588 km2)!
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Offline Jesus Contreras

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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2010, 09:00 AM »
If you read quietly the issue published in EL PAIS, it is pure sensationalism.

There is no "coming back" nor "reintroduction". It is only a closed area (half-freedom) where can be preserved the species of extinction, looking for a future.

It would be a horror having these animals incontrolled in the land, because they would alter absolutely all existing flora.

I consider it is pure sensationalism of newspapers, as always. I hope they are not "coming back" also the hyena,   :)   that also existed in Iberia in the past, as shows us fossils found in Granada.

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Offline Dave

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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2010, 09:40 AM »
Hi All
So the Bison are coming to live in a Zoo, well that will be novel  ???
Regards
Dave

Offline nick

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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2010, 10:02 AM »
Yes, the press are exaggerating the story taking the chance for a nice photo. I'm not sure if I’d go so far as to call that sensationalism.

But I don’t think there is any comparison with the hyena which became extinct before the last ice age due to natural causes. The bison probably survived in Navarra until the 11th century and disappeared from Spain entirely due to overhunting in recent history. It therefore forms part of the country’s native fauna (like beavers which have just been reintroduced wild to Scotland after a similar absence).

Whether or not it is advisable to reintroduce an extinct member of native fauna is another question. For example, I really am not sure about of re-introducing wolves to Scotland which has been suggested, where intensive sheep farming forms such an important part of the landscape and rural society, but bison could be a good candidate.

They are large herbivores like deer and cows. The problem isn’t their existence, it’s how dense there population are. Wild boar cause big problems where there are too many, but can have a positive effect on flora by where the population is stable. Overstocking of red deer by hunting estates causes many problems with local ecologies. A few bison would have a negliable effect on a flora which evolved to cope with being eaten by them.

But the worse thing they could do is just release them straight off. The Scottish beaver project took ten? years of studies on fenced-in animals before they allowed them to be released in the wild. Studies need to be carried out. Whether it's worth it when there isn't enough money for hospitals is another question, but I can imagine a small tourist industry growing up around the bison...

Whatever the case, as far as I can see this does not form part yet of a reintroduction project, but part of a captive breeding programme with the idea of stimulating the local economy through tourism in a depressed region . I think they are just testing the waters.

Nick
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Offline Petrea

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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2010, 19:16 PM »
I was not quite sure about the matter, hence the question mark!

The introduction of bisons in Denmark depends on the result of a survey. The plan is to keep them fenced in at first, and if everything goes well, they will be allowed to roam freely - if............

Beavers were reintroduced to Denmark in 1999 in a large (by Danish standards) plantation in the north western part of Jutland (Klosterhede Plantage, 6400 ha). The 18 beavers had multiplied to at least 120 in 2009, so it appears to be a success. I have not heard otherwise, and some were introduced to Zealand in Oct. 2009. Too early to evaluate.

But there is always a great fuss about these projects.  :technodevil:  Boars (coming from Germany) have been voted out, and when an elk occasionally decides to swim over from Sweden the press has something to write about!

Saludos
Petrea
« Last Edit: June 05, 2010, 19:20 PM by Petrea »
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Offline nick

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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2010, 11:40 AM »
From the blog:

http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/2010/06/bisons-in-spain/

Seven wild European bison (bisonte in Spanish) have been released into a 20 hectare enclosure in Palencia as part of a long-term plan to possibly reintroduce the animal to the Iberian Peninsula after an absence of 900 years. Bisons were once common in the deciduous and pine forests of northern Spain as is shown by the wonderful cave paintings of Altamira, and they probably survived in Navarra until the 12th  century when they were hunted to extinction. It is also speculated that bison undertook winter migrations from the north to the south of Spain, and that the ancient transhumance sheep paths followed these routes, though other studies suggest the bison was only ever present in the north (here).

The five females and two males brought from Poland do not yet form part of a real reintroduction project, but rather a captive breeding programme under the auspices of the World Conservation Union partly with the idea of stimulating the local economy through tourism in a depressed region. Bison watching, hunting, meat and their role in reducing the risk of forest fires by eating undergrowth have all been cited as possible beniefts. According to Fernando Morán, the vet in charge of the project, the WCU  has chosen Spain because of the large areas of uninhabited land in comparison with other European countries. Some 3,000 European bison survive in semi-wild conditions in Poland and other Eastern European countries, where they are discouraged from migrating by artificial feeding. Numbers are kept down by selective culling. Wolves, which are present in Palencia, seem only occasionally take them.

As head of the Spanish state, King Juan Carlos did his bit for European bison conservation when he legally shot a bison in Poland in 2004.
Nick
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