The European bison’s population is on the rise, notably in Romania where the animal roams free in the wild, so much so that the animal is no longer considered a vulnerable species.
“The bison is a keystone species, meaning it impacts in a positive way the habitat and thus the biodiversity of the Southern Carpathians,” says Bianca Stefanut, spokesperson for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Romania. “With its diet and huge body, it sculpts the environment so that other species have more habitat, everything from small insects to large carnivores is linked to bison rewilding.”
The overall population of the European bison went from some 1,800 in 2003 to more than 6,200 in 2020. Conservation efforts from WWF Romania and Rewilding Europe paid off as herds of European bison can be found in Russia, Poland, and Belarus, and rewilding programs are currently underway in Bulgaria and Ukraine. Britain welcomed bison on its territory after 6,000 years.