Serwis poświęcony przyrodzie województwa podkarpackiego

European wisent

                                  EUROPEAN WISENT Bison bonasus
Wisents are the largest animals living in Europe. Powerful, horned beats with a distinctive hump, they look like straight out of prehistoric times. A long time ago, when Europe was covered in lush forests, they inhabited the entire continent; today they are very rare and can only be encountered in the wild in very few places.
Currently, the number of wisents living in the wild is ca. 3623 (data from 2013). Among the countries harbouring them, Poland can boast the largest herd – more than 1100 specimens, therefore one in every three wisents is Polish. The largest number of these animals reside in the Białowieża Forest and the Bieszczady Mountains. Based on annual estimates performed by various units of the State Forests, the area of 53 4818 ha covered by the project is home to more than 340 wisents.
Species Description
  • Body Mass: 320–900 kg
  • Body Length: 2.4–3.5 m
  • Shoulder Height: 160–200 cm
  • Sexual Dimorphism: males are larger, different horn shape
  • Nutrition: herbivore
  • Lifespan: 20–25 years
  • Lifestyle: lives in herds
Biology and ecology
Wisents are social animals, i.e. they live in groups. This is particularly visible during winter, when wisents gather around places, where feed is left for them, creating herds of up to a few dozen animals, and sometimes even exceeding 100 specimens. A typical group in the vegetation period is ca. 10–20 specimens and consists of adult cows and teenagers between 2 and 3 years. In spring, herd numbers are increased by new-born calves, and autumn in the mating season (August–September) are supplemented with adult bulls. Outside the mating season, the bulls roam individually, especially old ones, and the younger ones stay in small groups, of 2 to 3 specimens (maximum of 8). Wisent life-span is relatively short, females rarely reach 25 years, and males, 20. They have few natural enemies; they may fall prey to bears, while wolves are not a greater threat for a herd of such strong animals. The territory, roamed by the wisents in winter is only 10 km2, while in the summer, disperse into smaller groups and roam in search of food on a territory of up to 70 km2. Wisents are typical herbivores; they eat mostly plants of the underbrush, grasses and herbs, and in the winter, bark, acorns, sprouts of e.g. blackberries. Despite their size, these powerful animals are able to gallop on short distances at speeds exceeding 40 km/h, and if threatened, jump over fencing even 2 m in height.
Protection and hazards
In the Bieszczady Mountains, wisents became extinct in the 18th century, between 1960s and 1980s, they were reintroduced into Carpathian forests. The Bieszczady Mountains are home to subpopulations of wisent (eastern and western), which until recently had no contact with each other. Due to the ever increasing numbers (presently more than 340), individual specimens began to move between these groups. Hazards to maintaining the wisent population include low genetic variability, and various kinds of diseases, e.g. tuberculosis.
EU Law
  • Habitat Directive – Appendix II and IV
  • Bern Convention – Appendix III
National legislation
  • Species protection – strict protection – species requiring active protection
IUCN threat category
  • IUCN Red List of endangered species – VU (vulnerable)
  • Polish Red Book of animals (2001) – EN (endangered)
  • Red List of vanishing and endangered species in Poland (2002) – EN
  • Red List for the Carpathians (2003) – EN (endangered), in Poland VU (vulnerable)



European wisent, fot....
European wisent, fot...
Young european bison,...

Strona internetowa opracowana w ramach projektu "Zielone Podkarpacie", dzięki wsparciu udzielonemu przez Islandię, Liechtenstein, i Norwegię poprzez dofinansowanie ze środków MF EOG oraz Norweskiego Mechanizmu Finansowego, a także ze środków budżetu RP w ramach Funduszu dla Organizacji Pozarządowych.

Strona została rozbudowana w ramach projektu "Tropem karpackich żubrów" współfinansowanego przez Unię Europejską z Europejskiego Funduszu Rozwoju Regionalnego oraz z budżetu państwa za pośrednictwem Euroregionu Karpackiego w ramach Programu Współpracy Transgranicznej Rzeczpospolita Polska – Republika Słowacka 2007-2013.

Strona została rozbudowana w ramach projektu "Zielone Podkarpacie - popularyzacja różnorodności biologicznej w wymiarze ekosystemowym" który korzysta z dofinansowania w kwocie 896 496 zł pochodzącego z Islandii, Liechtensteinu i Norwegii w ramach funduszy EOG.

Strona została rozbudowana w ramach projektu "Ochrona ostoi karpackiej fauny puszczańskiej - korytarze migracyjne" realizowanego przy wsparciu Szwajcarii w ramach szwajcarskiego programu współpracy z nowymi krajami członkowskimi UE.

Copyrights 2015. Wszystkie prawa zastrzeżone. projekt i realizacja: ideo