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Bison born in UK for first time in millennia

A wild bison has been born in the UK for the first time in a millennium thanks to a five-year rewilding project reintroducing the species to fight the climate crisis.

Three female bison were released in Kent in July by Kent Wildlife Trust and Wildwood Trust, but the birth came as a surprise to rangers who had no idea one was pregnant. Bison often hide their pregnancies to prevent predators from targeting them or their offspring.

It was only a few days after the baby was born that they discovered the female calf, as the mother had chosen a secluded spot to give birth.

Ranger Tom Gibbs who looks after the bison told the Guardian the discovery was a ‘monumental moment’, as they realised this was the first bison born in the UK for thousands of years.

A bull from Germany is also expected to join the female bison at the end of October.

It’s hoped the pioneering rewilding project will help to create a more climate resilient landscape in the West Blean and Thorden Woods, as their natural behaviours restore complex habitats.

Bison natural fell trees, creating layers within a forest, which can help to prevent a woodland from becoming a monoculture and can ensure wetter areas store carbon and reduce flood risk.

10 bison in total will eventually be on site and it’s hoped the project could be extended across the UK.

Other grazing animals will also be joining, including Exmoor ponies, Iron Age pigs and Longhorn cattle who will compliment the behaviours of the bison to naturally manage the land.

Organisers say the project could help to boost wildlife, as rangers have reported already seeing more dung beetles and hearing more birdsong.

They are now asking for donations to create a larger space for the herd to accommodate for the unexpected arrival.

Photo by christie greene

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