Good Dutch European bison news

Kraansvlak European bison, photo by Ruud Maaskant

Translated from Yvonne Kemp in the Netherlands:

Wisent group in Kraansvlak quadrupled in five years

Published by ARK on Friday, July 26th, 2013

In 2007, in the dunes of Zandvoort, the first Dutch European bison project started. This European bison group has quadrupled and now consists of 24 animals. The majority of these animals were born in the wild nature of the Kraansvlak.

In 2007, in Kraansvlak, in the Kennemerduinen area, the first three bison were released. The initial group was complete after a further three European bison from Poland were added a year later. Last May, three French bison bulls joined the group to bring fresh blood. The rest of the herd consists of animals born in Kraansvlak.

Wisent studbook

Since 2009, every year calves were born in Kraansvlak. They are named and included in the European bison studbook. It contains all the bison in the world about which official data are available. The studbook is for coordinating bison conservation. The European bison is still an endangered species after it became almost extinct in the early 20th century.

This year, the calves were born earlier than before and the counter stands now on no fewer than six calves. The little ones love playing with each other and are often seen by scientists and foresters. Project partners PWN and ARK Nature are proud that with the bison project in the dunes of Kraansvlak they are contributing significantly to give these impressive animals a better future.

French integration

On May 22 this year, an important event took place in Kraansvlak. That day, unrelated bison bulls were imported from France. The first few weeks the animals were given a chance to get used to the Dutch dune culture; apart from the herd. Then they could start to look for the herd. For interested parties that was an exciting moment: how would the animals behave towards each other?

It soon became clear that few barriers exist in bison country. The bulls joined the herd and even occasionally join the adult bull for a walk. The mating season is coming later this year. That will be exciting again. For how will the cows then feel about the French males? We’ll probably know next year as the first Dutch / French bison calf will be born.

Vroege Vogels TV this summer already visited the herd with its young calves and French bulls.

More information about the bison can be found at

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