The Netherlands: European bison to nature reserve


European bison

Dutch news agency ANP reports:

HAARLEM – Next year, there will be European bison running around in the Kraansvlak, a dune area near Zandvoort [western Netherlands].

A spokesperson for nature organisation ARK has said so.

The two hundred hectare area is property of PWN Water Authority Noord-Holland.

This is an experiment for three years.

The European bison should, among other things, prevent the plant cover of the dunes from becoming too dense.

Rabbits used to do that.

Diseases have much reduced the numbers of rabbits in the dunes.

American bison: here.

5 thoughts on “The Netherlands: European bison to nature reserve

  1. Wild bison return to Front Range after a century
    posted by: Dan Boniface , Web Producer

    Wild bison return to Front Range after a century. 9NEWS at 5 p.m. 03/17/07
    COMMERCE CITY (AP) – After more than a century’s absence, the wild bison who used to thunder across the prairie in their millions, have returned to Colorado’s Front Range in full view of Denver’s skyline.

    Sixteen buffalo, relocated from the National Bison Range in northwestern Montana, were released Saturday morning in an enclosed 1,400-acre section of the former Rocky Mountain Arsenal, near where nerve gas and other chemical weapons were once manufactured.

    Ironically, the military presence prevented the development that has destroyed considerable prairie habitat.

    “The release went very smoothly. We would say this was a tremendous success,” said Matt Kales, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He said the animals were released in an area that had never been used for the manufacture of weapons.

    The animals will be watched closely 24 hours a day for awhile to make sure they are accommodating themselves, said Kales.

    The 17,000-acre Rocky Mountain Arsenal, once a Superfund site, is being cleaned up and transformed from a chemical weapons and pesticide manufacturing center into a national wildlife refuge.

    The former arsenal, barely 10 miles from downtown Denver, already is now home to deer, bald eagles and hundreds of other species.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the parts of the arsenal that have been cleaned up, said bison were once a key part of the short-grass prairie ecosystem.

    Steve Berendzen, the project leader for national wildlife refuges in the area, said releasing the bison will give Fish and Wildlife the chance to determine the ecological response of the habitat and other wildlife to bison.

    An environmental group said the federal project will benefit the region’s economy and the refuge’s ecology.

    “The short grass left by grazing bison is ideal habitat for prairie dog colonies, which in turn provide habitat and prey for rare species such as burrowing owls, hawks and swift foxes,” said Jonathan Proctor of Defenders of Wildlife. “Bison also add nutrients to the soil and create wallows which can attract several types of birds.”

    Proctor added that about 250,000 people visit the National Bison Range every year, and Colorado could see the same kind of economic benefits.

    Bison once roamed the North American plains by the tens of millions, but were decimated by widespread slaughter after the Civil War as the nation’s policy of Manifest Destiny sent settlers west. They dropped to an estimated 1,000 or fewer by the late 1800s. The National Bison Range was created in 1908 to help save the animal from extinction.

    Fish and Wildlife manages bison on seven refuges nationwide. Kales said the arsenal would be the first bison refuge in a major metro area. The agency might relocate more bison to the site if the first herd settles in and thrives.

    “We are not only giving the bison a chance, but giving the people of Denver a chance to connect with them,” Kales said.

    Later in the day, residents of Lakewood, a suburb west of Denver, literally had that opportunity. A pet buffalo escaped. Police had it corralled for awhile but it escaped and it had to be put down, said Lakewood police animal control officer Michael Brogran. He said the young animal had done minor damage to a couple of cars but no one was hurt.

    The bison are wild and are considered genetically important because there has been little or no cross breeding with domestic cattle. Their flesh is lower in fat and cholesterol than other meat, and many restaurants offer it.

    Kales said the bison were released in the northwest part of the arsenal, an area enclosed by a 7-foot-tall, high-tensile wire fence, buffers and two more fences to keep the animals in.

    A mature female bison weighs 1,100 pounds and a bull can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds.

    Kales said Fish and Wildlife, which has a long history of managing bison, doesn’t believe the bison will try to get out of the enclosure. However, employees will have tranquilizer guns and plans in place in case of any escapes.

    The Army manufactured chemical weapons at the once-classified arsenal during World War II and the 1950s, including the nerve gas sarin, and Shell Oil manufactured pesticides and other chemicals there until 1982. The facility was designated a Superfund cleanup site, and Congress in 1992 declared that it be turned into a national wildlife refuge.

    Nearly 80 percent of the site has been removed from the EPA’s Superfund list of heavily polluted areas. Cleanup is expected to be completed in 2011.

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  2. Bison returned to Colorado homeland
    Sat Mar 17, 2007 4:27PM ET

    By Keith Coffman

    COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Reuters) – On the prairie where her ancestors once blanketed the landscape, a bison yearling lifted up her muzzle and pirouetted before bounding off in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.

    Hunted to the brink of extinction by settlers in the 19th century for sport or to make room for railroads, farms and ranches, North American bison, more commonly called buffalo, are being returned to the high plains of Colorado.

    U.S. wildlife managers on Saturday released 16 bison — three bulls and 13 cows — into the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge as part of an effort to return genetically pure, wild bison to the short-grass prairie where they once numbered in the millions.

    The site, 10 miles from downtown Denver, was once a chemical weapons plant.

    “Bison are the keystone species of the prairie ecosystem,” said Dean Rundle, a refuge supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Four of the reintroduced cows are pregnant, so wildlife managers will be able to control and monitor a breeding population of the purebred shaggy creatures, Rundle said. The agency is spreading wild bison to six refuges across the western United States.

    Before a crowd of onlookers and prodded by two wranglers, the bison bounded from the tractor-trailer in which they made the 15-hour trek from the National Bison Refuge in Montana, home to one of the last pure buffalo herds.

    As the American West was settled, wild bison were bred with domestic cattle. The result was that few bison herds remained free of cattle genes.

    Lee Plenty Wolf, a Lakota Indian spiritual leader from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, said he made the trip to honor their legacy to his people, who consider the buffalo sacred.

    “In mythological times, the buffalo brought our people out of the Black Hills,” he said before blessing the site with the feathers of a spotted eagle and a drum that symbolizes the heartbeat of the Earth. “They helped us survive on this continent by giving us food, shelter and clothing.”

    As Plenty Wolf finished his prayer chant, the three newly released bulls, each weighing 1 ton (900 kg), turned their heads away from the crowd and disappeared over the ridgeline.

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  3. Pingback: European bison, short-eared owl and woodlarks | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: European bison coming back to Dutch Veluwe | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Rare bird in The Netherlands, red-flanked bluetail | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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