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Blean Wood bison moved to larger reserve

30th December 2022

A herd of wild bison that were reintroduced to the UK in the summer have been moved to a larger reserve. The Kent Wildlife Trust and Wildwood Trust released the three female bison to naturally manage West Blean Woods near Canterbury, Kent, in July.

There are now five members of the herd, after one of them unexpectedly gave birth to a calf in October. and a bull bison from Germany was introduced on 23 December. They are now roaming a 50 hectare (123 acre) reserve, having previously lived in a 5 hectare (12 acre) area.

Bison ranger Donovan Wright said releasing the animals into their new home "was an incredible moment." He said: "The matriarch led the younger females into their new home, making a beeline for the sweet chestnut trees and tucking in right away."

As a result of moving to a larger enclosure, the bison are able to be spotted more frequently by members of the public. Mr Wright said: "It was not long after the bison had begun to explore their new home, that I had a chance meeting with some walkers visiting Blean. "They were so excited to catch a glimpse of these incredible creatures from the footpath and it is great to see how inspired people are by this project."

The bison, once indigenous to the UK, were introduced to Blean woods in July, after two years of preparation. They are now almost completely self-sufficient, and have to find their own food, water and shelter. They bison clear undergrowth, de-bark non-native conifers and allow native species to flourish. They also create pathways through undergrowth used by other animals such as foxes, rabbits and slow worms.

People walking their dogs in West Blean Woods are being asked to keep them on leads, with two fences separating the bison from the public at all times.

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