The impact of Russian military aggression on Ukrainian subpopulations of the European bison


  • Vitaliy Smagol Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology, Kyiv, Ukraine, National Nature Park “Zalissia”, Kyiv region, Ukraine
  • Ostap Reshetylo Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine, WWF-Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine
  • Viktoria Smagol National Nature Park “Zalissia”, Kyiv region, Ukraine, National Museum of Natural History, Kyiv, Ukraine


European bison, Ukraine, Russian aggresion, Zalissia, Konotop, Chornobyl


The impact of Russian occupation on some bison locations in Ukraine is analyzed. It was found out that active military actions in the north of Kyiv region in March 2022 led to a critical decrease of animal number in Zalisianska bison subpopulation in Zalissia National Nature Park to 14 animals from 21 in 2021; moreover, no males left in this herd. The reasons for such a decrease are caused by both the effects of mines and explosive devices and the stress factors (sounds and flashes of explosions, low-flying aircraft, movement of machinery, etc.). The location of Konotopska bison subpopulation on the territory of Konotop State Forestry (Sumy region) being occupied at the same period of time wasn’t impacted so much as no large-scale military actions took place here. Movement of Russian military machinery along the forest roads only just led to the temporary abandonment of the bison's common feeding habitats and resulted in the absolute absence of offspring in 2022 due to the stress. The war in general and occupation of the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone by Russian troops in particular, negatively influenced on the realization of ambitious EBFS-WWF bison re-introduction project, which has been postponed.




How to Cite

Smagol, V., Reshetylo, O., & Smagol, V. (2023). The impact of Russian military aggression on Ukrainian subpopulations of the European bison. European Bison Conservation Newsletter, 15, 17–26. Retrieved from

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