Wild bison are to be reintroduced to Britain after 15,000 years as part of a “groundbreaking” rewilding conservation scheme.
The mammals are not thought to have roamed British soil for thousands of years, and went extinct in Europe in 1919. Since then, other European countries have successfully reintroduced the large beast, including Poland, Romania and the Netherlands.
The European bison is the the closest living relative to ancient steppe bison that would have once roamed Britain and naturally managed the habitat, conservationists said.
The Wildlife Trusts hope this will be the case again, and are due to release a closely-knit herd of four European bison into a fenced 1,200 acre enclosure away from public footpaths, in what is the first time the animals have been introduced to a nature reserve to help wildlife in the UK.
It is hoped by experts that the £1 million project at Blean Woods near Canterbury, Kent, will show the benefits bison have on the habitat, and eventually they will be allowed to roam without being fenced.
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