28 bison have perfectly adapted in the wild


Nearly 3 years after its debut, the programme to reintroduce the bison into the Făgăraș Mountains is a real success, with a total of 28 animals in the wild. Started at the end of 2019, the project to reintroduce the species of the largest mammal in Europe (Bison bonasus) has exceeded expectations. Proof of the adaptation to the environmental conditions are the 3 healthy calves accompanying the herds.

“The mission to rebuild the bison population in the Făgăraș Mountains from scratch started with the release of eight bison brought from Germany and Poland,” said Adrian Aldea, biologist and wildlife manager at Conservation Carpathia. “Later we brought them from Sweden, Great Britain and from Vama Buzăului and Vânători Neamț reserves. Initially the animals were housed in quarantine and acclimatization enclosures, and since spring 2020 they have been enjoying the favourable natural habitat of the Făgăraș Mountains. An important criterion in the selection of specimens is the analysis of pedigree, to avoid inbreeding.”

Considered by experts to be the largest land mammal in Europe, it is a key species for the maintenance of wilderness areas and mosaic landscapes. In the past, it occupied western, central and south-western Europe and was a symbol of power. Causes of population decline include logging, over-hunting, poaching, competition with domestic animals and the destruction of natural habitats.

The bison in Romania

With considerable effort since 2012, Romania has now become one of the nine European countries where the bison lives in the wild again. Since 2020, this has also become a reality in the Făgăraș Mountains.

The species, which also disappeared from the Romanian Carpathians more than 200 years ago due to over-hunting, has been successfully reintroduced in several other areas of the country, and has adapted well in the wild in the Vânători-Neamt Natural Park, Armeniș (Caras-Severin) and Hunedoara County.

The final target of the reintroduction project in the Făgăraș Mountains is the release of 75 individuals by mid-2024. As the presence of the bison becomes constant in the ecosystem, the environmental changes will also be more visible: the fauna will be reintroduced and the meadows will be maintained by their grazing.

“For each reintroduction area we have a team of rangers hired from the local communities who monitor the progress of the groups,” said Călin Șerban, specialist in the reintroduction project of Conservation Carpathia. “Observations are made on a daily basis, either directly through field trips or by analysing information from GPS collars and motion sensor monitoring cameras. We also monitor to ensure that groups of bison do not tend to approach communities. We have been pleased to see calves appearing every year, a sign that the species is adapting to new living conditions. There are now three calves. There were five…”

Symbol and importance for the local community

The bison, beyond its majesty, also has a beneficial influence on nature. It provides multiple benefits to the habitat and is also loved and cherished by humans as a peaceful animal.

A mammal with a strong presence in Romanian folklore and history, it also represents an economic potential, through its role in the tourist development of adjacent areas or in the development of a local brand for certain products.

“As a sign of local pride for the reintroduction of the species, the authorities of Lerești commune, a community at the foot of the Făgăraș mountains, have decided that the local football team will wear the bison on their competition kit,” said Marian Toader, mayor of Lerești, Argeș.

About the bison:

  • it is the largest land mammal in Europe;
  • it can reach up to 800-1000 kg;
  • the female bison are smaller, weighing 320-540 kg;
  • it can run at speeds of up to 60km/h;
  • it is a social, herd animal;
  • our groups are generally 15-20 strong and led by a female leader;
  • adult males either become solitary or form bachelor groups of several individuals;
  • males join groups during the breeding season and stay together for up to six days;
  • females mate every two years;
  • gestation lasts on average nine months;
  • young are usually born in spring, in May or June;
  • a female can give birth to about nine cubs in her lifetime.