WILD bison have returned to the British countryside for the first time in thousands of years as part of a major nature restoration project.
Three European bison were released in a wooded area near Canterbury, Kent on Monday.
Experts hope that the trio will make a contribution to overcoming natural and climate crises.
Their natural grazing, chopping down trees, eating bark, and taking dust baths will restore things and create new habitats for other wildlife.
The herd will soon have other wild companions, including Exmoor ponies, Iron Age pigs and Longhorn cattle.
European bison were chosen because they are the closest living relative of the ancient steppe bison that once roamed Britain and farmed the area naturally.
The breed is Europe’s largest land mammal.
Bison enjoy stripping trees and stripping off bark, creating an ideal territory for insects and fungi and allowing plant species to thrive.
Their fur is also useful as birds collect it to build nests.
The flock consists of a matriarch from Scotland, a bull from Germany and two youngsters from Ireland.
“They have this remarkable ability to increase biodiversity just because they are bison. We really need that in the woods,” said bison ranger Donovan Wright.
“You get that rebound effect through the ecosystem, so many species can benefit from the bison in the ecosystem.”
The £1.12million project is managed by the Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wildwood Trust in West Blean and Thornden Woods.
“With this project we will demonstrate the impact that bison can have on the environment in the wild,” said Paul Whitfield, Director General of Wildwood Trust
“They will create an explosion in biodiversity and boost habitat resilience by trapping carbon to reduce global temperature rise.
“Not only that, we are giving the people of Britain the opportunity – for the first time in over 1,000 years – to experience bison in the wild.
“It’s a really powerful, emotional, visceral experience and something we’ve lost in this country.”
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9118696/wild-bison-reintroduced-kent-canterbury-uk/ Wild BISON are returning to Britain for the first time in thousands of years as 1-ton beasts are reintroduced to Kent forests