European Bison (Bison Bonasus): Current State of the Species and Strategy for Its Conservation, Numéros 18 à 141

Council of Europe, 1 janv. 2004 - 82 pages
The European bison, the largest herbivore in Europe, was once widely distributed throughout western, central and south-eastern Europe. But by the end of the 19th century there were only two populations left in the the wild, this drastic decline caused by competition for food from deer, cattle grazing in forests, wars and heavy poaching. By 1945 there were only 54 animals with proven pedigrees in zoos, descended from 12 ancestor animals (of which a mere two are dominant genetically). Moves to restore the wild population began in the 1920s, and the restitution has successfully maintained the breed's purity. In 2000, there were nearly 2900 bison registered by the European Bison Pedigree Book, existing in 191 enclosed and 31 free-roaming herds. Despite this success, there remain concerns over the loss of genetic variability - the inbreeding affects life span, viability of young animals, and the interval between calving and skeletal growth - and the presence of, and susceptibility to, several diseases, including foot-and-mouth and TB. Management of the habitat and local populations of bison is necessary to maintain the optimum bison habitat. It remains an endangered species, and its full recovery and re-naturalisation in the wild cannot be guaranteed.

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Table des matières

World population numbers
Actual and potential threats
Origin of the hybrids of North American
Recommendation No 102 2003 of
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