• Dave Harmon, PW editor

New map shows re-wilding projects around the world

In the past decade, the European bison (Bison bonasus) has made a comeback in Central and Eastern Europe. Hunters had killed the last known bison in the region nearly a century ago. But thanks to reintroduction programs in Belarus, Poland, Russia and Romania, nearly four times as many bison are alive today as there were in 2003. The increase, to some 7,000 animals, was enough to prompt the IUCN to downgrade the European bison’s conservation status from vulnerable to near threatened in 2020.

The largest of Romania’s free-roaming herds lives in the Țarcu Mountains, a low-slung range in the Southern Carpathians heavy with old-growth forest. The reintroduction of the bison, including the recent addition of two males and six females in 2020, is a collaboration of WWF Romania and the Netherlands-based nonprofit Rewilding Europe. It’s also one of dozens of rewilding projects featured on a new map from the Global Rewilding Alliance that was officially launched April 11.

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