Ponies, Pigs, And Cattle Join Bison In Kent Woodland For World Rewilding Day
The Wilder Blean Project released European bison into the woods last year and the new groups of animals entered the forest just in time for World Re-Wilding Day on 20 March 2023. Exmoor ponies, Iron-age pigs and Long-horn cattle are roaming alongside wild bison following their release into woodland in Canterbury. The animals will now form part of a pioneering wilding project ‘wilder grazing’ project aimed at fighting the climate crisis and loss of biodiversity. In July 2022, three female bison were released into the woodland, and began to change the landscape around them. A few months later, in September, bison rangers welcomed the birth of the first wild bison calf to be born in the UK in thousands of years. The arrival of the bull from Germany, whose arrival was delayed due to post-Brexit complications finally made it to his herd on 23 December. Now the Exmoor ponies, Iron-Age pigs and Long-horn cattle will bring their unique behaviours to the woodland. The Long-horns have been chosen for their ability to graze woody twigs trees and scrub, opening up the canopy. The ponies target soft heavy vegetation creating space for different species in grassy and scrubby areas, whereas the pigs will compliment this by rootling around with their snouts, looking for roots and bulbs, disturbing the soil and causing seeds to grow. The Wilderblean project is now seeking planning permission for bison tunnels to allow the bison to explore all of 200 hectares of woodland.