European bison (Bison bonasus) is a mammal belonging to the bison genus, occurring in the eastern part of Europe, including Poland. Adult body attains a length of 2.1 - 3.4 m and a weight of 300-920 kg.
Pregnancy lasts 260-270 days, the female gives birth to one young.
About 20,000 years ago, bison inhabited almost the entire Europe continent, however by the nineteenth century it could only be found in Poland and in the Caucasus mountains. In 1919, the last lowland bison surviving in the wild died out from the Bialowieża Forest, and in 1925 the last surviving mountain bison in the Caucasus too disappeared.
Once extinct in the wild, restitution of this species from specimens using individuals preserved in sanctuaries and zoo parks was undertaken. What's interesting – it was at the request of Poles. For, earlier in 1923, at the International Congress for Conservation of Nature, Polish representatives had called for the rescue of European bison. They had managed to convince naturalists from other countries, that same year the International Society for the Protection of Bison was founded. After World War II, Poland became a world centre of breeding the bison, where it was reintroduced into the Bialowieża Forest. At present, there are over 5,000 individuals in the world, including almost 550 in our country. Interestingly, all the currently living bisons come from 12 individuals, while the lowland bisons (Bialowieża ) come from only 7!
Our zoo collaborates with the European Bison Friends Society - http://www.smz.waw.pl/.
Four individuals live in our zoo.