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Bison to be introduced into UK woodland (and they’ll have a job to do) | UK News



Bison are being introduced into British woodland in a £1m project to restore an ancient habitat and its wildlife.

A herd of four European bison – the continent’s largest land mammal – will live in a fenced enclosure at Blean Woods near Canterbury in Kent.

Adult males can weigh up to a tonne but they are peaceful and will be kept away from public footpaths, says Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wildwood Trust.

It is the first time they have been brought into a nature reserve to help UK wildlife.

Experts say they can help other animals and plants by felling trees, which creates areas of space and light, as well as producing deadwood that’s beneficial for fungi and insects.

The trust said bare earth patches created by the bison “dust bathing” would also be good for lizards, burrowing wasps and rare arable weeds.

The bison will kept in a wider 500 hectare (1,200 acre) area that will also use other grazing animals such as Konik ponies to create a varied habitat.

European bison are the closest living relative to the ancient steppe bison that once roamed Britain.

Paul Whitfield, director general of Wildwood Trust, said: “The partners in this project have long dreamt of restoring the true wild woodlands that have been missing from England for too long.

“This will allow people to experience nature in a way they haven’t before, connecting them back to the natural world around them in a deeper and more meaningful way.”

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