Seventeen bison have arrived in Romania to start a life with another 65 bisons who are already roaming the southern Carpathians.
The new group arrived in November and December and have settled near the Pecineagu Lake and another area in the Arges county, central Romania under a project organized by the Conservation Carpathia Foundation (FCC).
Six bison will be reintroduced to the lake area and eleven to a new site. They came from Romania, reserves in the UK, Sweden and Germany, FCC said.
In the summer, another eight bison came to Romania to start a new life in the wild, joining 57 which were already here.
FCC began a bison reintroduction program last fall, as part of the LIFE Carpathia project, financed by the European Commission through the LIFE and Endangered Landscapes programs.
The European bison (or wisent) disappeared from Romania about 200 years ago. Since 2013, two other groups_Rewilding Europe and WWF Romania_ have also been working together in the southern Carpathians rewilding area to reintroduce the species.
The first two bison releases took place in 2014 and 2015.
In June 2016, a third bison release took place as part of the European Commission-funded LIFE Bison project, with a fourth release of nine animals taking place in April 2017.
For the first weeks, the bison are kept in a quarantine area, under veterinary supervision, following current legislation. They will be released later into a wider acclimatization area, where they will get the chance to adapt easier to their environment. They will be released into the wild in the spring of next year, either to join the existing herd in the area or form a new one.
The successful reintroduction of a vulnerable species like the bison is when the animals survive and mate in natural conditions, FCC said.
A feasibility study carried out by Romsilva specialists said 100 animals are needed for this and the reintroduction process is carried out in three areas, which allows the bison to move between the areas and mingle with the other groups.