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The European bison in Studen Kladenets Reserve in a larger enclosure

The adaptation process of the European bison in Studen Kladenets Reserve in the Eastern Rhodopes is proceeding successfully and the animals now live in an enlarged enclosure of 12 ha. Just prior to enlarging the enclosure the animals were vaccinated according to a medical scheme developed jointly with the local vets.

The bisons have spent their eight months acclimatization period in an enclosure of 6 ha. According to introduction program the size of the enclosure will be gradually enlarged. With the help of local people the project team built fences for 6 more ha. The enlarged site includes open terrain, areas with thorn, a mixed forest of oak and hornbeam, and two gullies.

On July 4th, the fence between the old and new parts of the enclosure was removed and immediately the animals showed interest to explore the new part. Further enlargement of the enclosure will continue. This is one of the ongoing steps until the animals' ultimate release. When the project experts consider the bison sufficiently adapted to the Studen Kladenets environmental conditions, they will be released into the wild. Here will be the first free roaming bison population in Bulgaria!

Currently the bison in Studen Kladenets are doing very well, despite the hot summer days. During daytime they spent long periods in the tree shade under forests cover where they eat branches and shrubs. In the evening the animals go out to the open areas to graze and to explore their new territory.

Since autumn 2013, New Thracian Gold works in the Eastern Europe on the reintroduction of the European bison, a large endangered herbivorous species and iconic for the European rewilding initiatives. Two adult and three young bisons were brought from Germany to the Studen Kladenets Game Reserve. This was the kick-off of the bison reintroduction in the Rhodopes, the highlight of the two-year project “The wild world of the Eastern Rhodopes”. Unfortunately, the three young bison died soon after their transfer to Bulgaria due to an unexpected disease, but despite this misfortune the project team is positive about the bison’s chances in the Rhodopes. The two adults are doing very well.

The European bison became an instant attraction for locals and tourists in the Eastern Rhodopes. This year, more than 700 people have visited the Studen Kladenets Reserve to see the bison. The European bison were the highlight of the Open Doors Weekend in the Eastern Rhodopes organized by NTG in April.

The project “The wild world of the Eastern Rhodopes” is implemented with the financial support of America for Bulgaria Foundation.


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The America for Bulgaria Foundation assists in growing and strengthening a vibrant market economy and democratic society in Bulgaria, helping the country to realize its full potential as a successful, modern European nation. Founded in 2008, the ABF is a successor to the Bulgarian American Enterprise Fund, an investment fund created by the U.S. government acting through the U.S. Agency for International Development. The grants provided by ABF build on the legacy of goodwill and friendship that exists between the American people and the citizens of Bulgaria.


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