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  • WWF release 6 bison into North Caucasus wilderness to preserve wildlife

    Published on August 6, 2018

    The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) released six young bison into the wilds of the North Caucasus on Thursday as part of a program to restore wild populations in the region.

    The bison, all between two and three years of age, come from diverse backgrounds so as to increase the diversity of the gene pool. Two males and one female come from the Oka Nature Reserve in Russia’s Ryazan Region, and another three were brought from Sweden.

    The efforts, which began in 1996 in collaboration with the North Ossetia ministry of natural resources, have seen the bison population increase threefold.

    The release comes days after the WWF released two unique mountain leopards into the wilderness nearby, but the director of WWF in the Russian Caucasus, Valery Schmunk, said that bison is too big a prey for the leopards and the two endangered populations will not stand in each others way to recovery. “This is done to diversify the genetic status of the population. As you know, at the beginning of the 20th century, they were practically extinct in nature,” he said. “We can say that the program is working out successfully because in the beginning of the 2000’s there was little more than 30 bison in the wild, and now there are almost 90.

    “The problem in the preservation of broad-leaved forests is that there are practically no large-hoofed fauna in this wilderness. This way, by reintroducing the bison, we help preserve and restore these broad-leaved forests,” he added.