EUROPEAN WOOD BISON (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     19th February 2024        
output themes

Context: The war between Ukraine and Russia has threatened the European bison population with extinction.

European Wood Bison

  • About: The European wood bison (Bison bonasus) stands as the largest and heaviest terrestrial mammal in Europe.
  • Also known as: Wisent.
  • Subspecies Decline: Once comprising three subspecies, only one, Bison bonasus bonasus, remains extant, with the other two having succumbed to extinction.
  • Habitat: Thriving in grasslands, deciduous, and mixed forests, the European wood bison is adaptable to diverse ecosystems.
  • Role: Noteworthy for its role as an ecosystem engineer, the wisent plays a crucial part in restoring grassland habitats, fostering biodiversity.
  • Distribution: The European wood bison is distributed across Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, and Ukraine.
  • Conservation Status: IUCN Red list Status: Near Threatened
  • Threats: Rapid environmental change and hunting by humans were the main drivers of the wisent’s extirpation across Europe, highlighting critical threats to its survival.