Bison Return To The Wild In The UK For First Time In Thousands Of Years

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Bison can be seen in the wild in the UK for the first time in thousands of years thanks to a pioneering conservation project based in ancient woodland in Kent. Three females were released into the wild in West Blean and Thorden Woods, near Canterbury, Kent on Monday 18 July 2022 a male will in them in August due to complications caused by Brexit. Conservationists hope the bison will create a more climate resilient landscape as their natural behaviours will help restore the forest by naturally felling trees so it will move away from being a monoculture, and create wetter areas that will not only store carbon, but reduce flood risk. Only 7,000 bison remain in Europe and are descended from just 12 zoo animals after going more or less extinct in the wild during the first half of the 20th Century. They have been absent from Britain much longer after being wiped out due to hunting. European bison are a keystone species whose grazing, eating bark, felling trees and taking dust baths will open the canopy, creating light will create new spaces for wildlife and previously missing species to thrive. The bison will soon be joined by other grazing animals, including Exmoor ponies, Iron Age pigs and Longhorn cattle. The pioneering £1.1 million project was funded by a grant from the People’s Postcode Lottery.

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