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European Wood Bison

Context:

A new study has warned that the ongoing war in Ukraine could act as a spanner in the works for efforts to save the last remnant of the mega-fauna European wood bison.

Relevance:

GS III: Species in News

European Wood Bison (Wisent): Guardian of Grasslands and Forests

  • Also Known As: Wisent
  • Habitat: Thrives in grasslands, deciduous, and mixed forests.
  • Historical Challenges: Almost wiped out from Europe by 1927.
  • Ecological Role: Essential ecosystem engineer, contributing to the restoration of grassland habitat.
  • Conservation Status: IUCN Status: Near Threatened.
Key Characteristics:
  • Largest and heaviest land mammal in Europe.
  • Belongs to the species Bison bonasus.
Historical Distribution:
  • Originally three subspecies, with only one remaining (Bison bonasus bonasus).
  • Roamed across Europe in large herds at the end of the last ice age.
Threats:
  • Main drivers of extinction were rapid environmental change and human hunting.
  • Hunting led to range loss in the north and east, while land use change caused losses in the west and south.

-Source: India Today


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