Animals & Attractions

We currently have a large herd of European bison that can be seen exploring our drive-through reserve.

FACT FILE

  • We currently have one of the largest herds of European bison in the UK!
  • European bison previously roamed throughout western, central and south eastern Europe. Unfortunately by 1927, the species had been lost from the wild entirely and only 54 individuals survived in European Zoos. Since then there have been re-introductions to forests in Belarus, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, the Ukraine, Romania and Slovakia
  • European bison (Bison bonasus) are similar in appearance to their North American relative (Bison bison). They are taller but not as heavily built
  • They prefer a woodland habitat where they live in small herds browsing on leaves and other vegetation. Bison are mainly browsers and they can spend up to 60% of daylight hours feeding. When food is plentiful, adult males may consume 32kg of food a day
  • Their diet varies according to the seasons and as well as grasses and sedges, also includes tree foliage, bark, mosses, fungi and herbaceous plants
  • Bison need to drink every day and in winter can be seen breaking ice with their heavy hooves
  • Despite their usual slow movements, they are surprisingly agile and can jump three metre wide streams or two metre high fences from a standing start

HOW WE'RE HELPING

Here at RZSS, our bison are part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) which ensures a healthy and genetically diverse population.

Like all the animals in our care, our European bison are amazing ambassadors for their relatives in the wild and help hundreds of thousands of people connect with nature every year. They encourage visitors to learn about the threats facing wildlife and the action they can take to help create a world where nature is protected, valued, and loved.

As a wildlife conservation charity, we care for the animals here at the park and work to protect species at risk around the world. From providing expertise in genetics and veterinary health to protecting wild places with local conservation partners, and even restoring threatened species to the wild, we are active where we are needed most.

Find out more about RZSS conservation

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