Wisents in transboundary populations – a chance or a problem?

Authors

  • Kajetan Perzanowski Institute of Landscape Architecture, Catholic University of Lublin, Poland

Keywords:

European bison, wisent, range of occurrence, population management, transboundary cooperation, barriers

Abstract

According to European Bison Pedigree Book, wisent population in Poland by the end of 2018 counted 1820 individuals, including 1613 animals in freedom. Therefore in Poland, live close to 25% of presently living wisents, i.e. the largest population of this species in the world. Next to our state borders, there are free ranging populations in Belarus – Białowieska Forest about 572 individuals, in Ukraine – National Park Beskyd Skolyvski – 34, and Slovakia – National Park Poloniny – 40 wisents. Planned is the establishment of new transboundary populations at Landscape Park of Lower Oder River Valley, at Romincka, and Augustowska Forests. In many places where transboundary populations already exist or are planned, their potential joint home ranges are divided by anthropogenic (fencing – Ukraine, Belarus) or natural barriers (Oder River – Germany). The basic problem for creating such populations will be either elimination of such barriers or introduction of passages allowing for animals’ movements. Benefits provided by transboundary populations are: larger area of available habitats, a possibility for the maintenance of larger populations, and a chance for mitigation of isolation among particular herds. However possible problems include: more difficult population management due to differences in formal status of the species in particular countries, complicated budgeting of costs connected with maintenance of such herds and compensation of damages, and a possibility for a transmission of infectious diseases, not occurring at territory of one of neighbouring countries. Therefore, creation of transboundary populations of wisents is desirable regarding the possibility of extension of their home ranges and increase of effective numbers. Effectiveness of such initiatives will however depend upon a possibility for stable international agreements and routine cooperation. Very important is an establishment of an uniform formal status of this species in Europe or at last in EU member countries. 

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Published

2019-09-01

How to Cite

Perzanowski, K. (2019). Wisents in transboundary populations – a chance or a problem?. European Bison Conservation Newsletter, 12, 59–68. Retrieved from https://ojs.wisent.org/index.php/czasopismo/article/view/35

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