Bringing Back Europe’s Bison
In Bad Berleburg, a German prince (and the largest land-owner in the region) is leading an effort to reintroduce European bison into Germany.
They have started with a group of 8, that has since grown to 9 animals. It’s pretty neat. The animals are huge. In fact, the European bison is the largest land mammal in Europe. They almost went extinct in the early part of the 20th century. Now, places like Poland and Germany are bringing them back.
The effort is part of a larger program across the continent called Rewilding Europe which is seeking to take abandoned farmland, underused land, and to find ways to repopulate it with wildlife that has not existed in abundance in Europe for hundreds or even thousands of years.
I spent two days in and around Bad Berleburg, Germany, hanging with the bison, interviewing people and learning more about this fascinating project. My favorite character, by the way, is Jochen Born, the bison ranger, who has no fear of these massive animals and himself is rather bison-like.