Bison reintroduction (small victory of zoologists)

    Imagine, an abandoned village, only one grandmother remained in it. And now she complains to the postman:
    - My God, a nightmare, you need to leave here!
    “Why, grandmother?”
    “The devils come in the evenings!” Look in the window! I'm afraid

    The postman was not very versed in the devil, so the grandmother was almost hospitalized because of the cuckoo who had gone. But the rumor spread. Unlike many similar stories, the devil's grandmother described very accurately, not quite according to the canon, and she was able to give an orientation according to all the rules of detective work. She made out them to the smallest hairs on filthy faces. So they found bison who decided to take a little walk out of the enclosure. These devils gave rise to one of the reintroduced herds.

    Imagine that you looked into a window at night:

    In general, when everything around dies and ends, one of the coolest modern successes in the animal kingdom is the reintroduction of the bison. Because they were nearly nailed to zero. By 1926, all available bison were successfully shot in the wild, and only 48 animals remained in the zoos on the entire planet, and these were Bison bonasus bonasus (plains). Only one Bison bonasus caucasicus survived until 1925. He predictably died out, but ended up in Valhalla with the shaggy Valkyries before that. Because he managed to breed calves and pass on the genes further.

    Today, there are already about 7.2 thousand bison on the planet, of which 5 thousand are free-living. 20% of them are in Russia. On February 21, a new bison registration by piece started.

    UPD: About a 20% stake, grinCo believesThat’s because we have considered hybrids to be purebreds, in fact the proportion is less.

    The initial reintroduction plan was this: take the bison out of the enclosure, then expand it gradually, and then release them after a few years. But the first three, who were brought to the Russian North National Park, did not wait and immediately ran away.

    Moreover, in the forest, although they were thought to be flat. And lost. These were the same devils from the grandmother. Here's another hellish mug:

    They brought two more to them, but these also fled.

    In general, feeding in the region was somehow not puzzled, so the bison calmly ate what they found. And the vegetation is nutritious. In 2007 there were already 30 goals, another 15 from other places were brought to accelerate. Now there are about 80 individuals, but they have not yet done the exact counting.

    But let's start from the very beginning.

    Who is this bison at all?

    This is a "European bison", more precisely, a bull, a relative of the bison. A fluffy and rather kudlatnaya cute creature weighing a ton (cows can about 800 kg). If you scratch his ear, he can quite lead his head and accidentally break your arm. Little bison are very playful and shy. In adults, the character becomes more serious and cynical, because they understand that with their mass in the forest there is only one problem - trees. Everything else and everyone else can go through.

    Since they are not nifiga domestic, but very wild, you can’t get close to them. Especially in the open, because something sudden may occur to them, and they decide to suddenly run away somewhere to the side. If you're not lucky - through you. They are very strong, capable of unexpectedly jumping 3 meters in length and taking obstacles up to 2 meters. The herds are matriarchy, and the female can decide that the herd needs to be protected. And attack. It’s not pleasant enough, because they run faster than a person and immediately by a crowd. But you can hide from the bison grumbling at you behind a tree. They are not very persistent.

    They live 23 years, the first calving at 4 years. Cows are reproductive from 3 to 18 years old, bulls from 5 to 15 years old. A bison cow carries a baby of 9 months, a bison is born weighing 24 kilograms. That is, the reproduction rate they have is not the highest, but with a good life - quite a conveyor belt. Plus they take good care of the cubs.

    At the time of the first appearance of bison in the Kaluga Zaseki, there were 9 of them (they came from the Oryol Polesie park on their own and settled down - this is a sore point for some). Now, after 18 years, there are already about 200 of them, and this year 30 calves. Therefore, they have been transported to other national parks for a long time.

    More precisely, how many of them it will be clear after accounting. At the preliminary count, 24 calves and 111 goals total in broodstock. Wherein“Small uterine groups that are very shy at the beginning of winter, as well as adult males who prefer to avoid eye contact, have not yet reached the wintering grounds .

    What is reintroduction?

    This is when we soaked someone, then repented and brought again either from zoos, or from another place where there are many such animals.

    For example, they drove musk ox once to Taimyr from Greenland. True, in Taimyr we did not eat the musk ox, but they themselves got rid of something long before the start of the industrial era.

    The term applies to plants too.

    One of the problems of reintroduction is that animals lose the necessary adaptive properties, for example, the skills of searching for food collection in the wild, protective and attacking properties. Therefore, they are often released gradually. It was also planned with bison, but they are rather heavy animals, therefore it does not always work with an aviary.

    The second potential problem is low genetic diversity, because the zoo population is very small.

    What is happening in the reserve now?

    In "Kaluga Zaseki" one of the most successful bison populations in the world. The reserve is such a long narrow forest of 120 kilometers in size.

    Herds of bison live in different parts of it. Bulls go much further than the reserve, because boys generally like to wander around, but cows and young animals are clustered around feeding points.

    Feeding points are not needed to maintain the life of the bison, but to concentrate them in the reserve (they like cooked food) and to maintain fertility. Well-fed animals happy with life come to the hunt more often and breed much faster than forced to look for something all day.

    Without feeding points, they are quite capable of surviving, but the population in Vologda, for example, stabilized at 80 individuals approximately and does not particularly increase.

    There are no predators of the right size and with the right skills in the forest. Wolves in theory are not capable of filling up the largest beast (in the reserve there are two flocks, 12 and 6 goals), but they simply do not know how. But they perfectly learned how to bring down hunting dogs, and switched to beavers, as in other regions. Because there are a lot of beavers, and they are tasty, and boars after the swine plague became few.

    Poachers are annoying, of course, but the main peak has passed. For a crammed bison at any point in the country they give a rather long term (not only in the reserve), but according to the calculations of Taras Petrovich Sipko, approximately 75 bison disappeared from the Fibonacci fertile sequence at one stage. Comparing with their natural mortality, he believes that about 50 of them were shot.

    And here he himself, met him in a village in the middle of the forest. He wrote an excellent history of bison reintroduction in the Caucasus .

    By the way, there are hunting towers on the border of the reserve almost right next to its borders. This is for other animals that are protected only inside. The administration has long fought for the buffer zone, but so far has not been working out.

    Returning to our healthy mleks - since there is no direct danger now, the number of bison is regulated, in fact, only by their ability to find plants suitable for food.

    This is also very interesting. They themselves increase their feed base. I have already mentioned several times how confidently sheep, in particular, with their hooves, turn everything around into a desert. The bison also have hooves, which are also cool, but the special effect with them is different. It turns out that forest bison eat cereal feed.

    It works like this. A small population of about 20 heads is enough normal food in the forest. Then they trample the clearing, and there the earth is compacted in comparison with the usual forest. It turns into a clearing, where soddy grasses begin to grow. Bison damage trees and eat small ones (because they are tasty). Consequence - they clear the whole field in the forest. From this field there is a wide path to the reservoir and other aft areas.

    Just February 23, while we were in the Kaluga Zaseki Reserve, the scientist Jose Hernandez Blanco (pictured) was just negotiating with the military unit about airborne accounting. We also met him in the village. And here is his wonderful postwith a photo of a bait from a copter. It is almost like their natural glade, only here it was created by man.


    The population is reintroduced. There is a problem with low genetic diversity due to the small number of ancestors (which we know very well from Stevenson's Semievius, only here is the Twelve Ices). And close crossbreeding. Here is the 2011 view that bison should be treated by shooting (sorting). There was also an attempt to cross them with bison, and we got great hybrids, only during the Great Patriotic War everyone was gone. Now there are new series of bison, more modern.

    Aurochs are recorded directly from the air (scientists even have a drone, but it doesn’t help much because the reserve is large and you need to count all at once, otherwise they will move between drone missions and take into account someone twice). They also hung collars with GPS trackers. Taras, in general, used to decorate their ears with orange marks, but tourists complained, they had to switch to collars. They do not catch the oldest bison, shoot it with the ampoule of sleeping pills for a bear (because sleeping pills for bison in Russia fall under the ban), they hope that the dose is selected according to the visual assessment of the mass correctly, they fit, they catch the collar (so that the fist passes under it - on outgrowth) and let go. At least once they even removed the shrunken one, but on the whole they go about it after the battery is exhausted after a year or two.

    They’ve got a thermal imager now, they say you can see the places of lodges and droppings for some time, and the muzzles are so clearly distinguishable in the bushes (though all this is close).

    In general, things are going. Rejoice for the only mammoth mammalian fauna that has survived in a relatively unchanged form before us. Before the "survived" could be the word "almost." If it weren’t for the work of those who decided to keep the bison back in the last century, when the population was in the minimum quantity possible for reproduction.

    That's why the bison shows the language to skeptics (actually not).

    Also popular now: