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‘Unexpected’ pregnancy; First wild bison born in UK in millennia

In the midst of a ground-breaking rewilding initiative, a wild bison was born in the United Kingdom after thousands of years. The project is a partnership between the Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wildwood Trust, and it follows the July release in Kent, United Kingdom, of three bison from Scotland and Ireland. The project’s lead rangers were also taken aback by the calf. A female calf was found a few days later, but its mother could not be found, according to Tom Gibbs, a bison ranger. According to reports, bison conceal their pregnancies to avoid predators that prey on pregnant animals or their young.

The effort had hoped that the bison released would breed eventually and grow into a herd, but the calf was a welcomed surprise because there were only three female bison and a bull was due to show up by the end of October. According to reports, the female bison may have been pregnant before to travelling to Kent from Ireland. According to Gibbs, ‘There were a few of days when we didn’t see female 2 and that was kind of an alarm signal since she’s generally extremely confident and the one up at the front. I hoped she was ok. The other two women, on the other hand, were ‘edge and defensive, warning me about something,’ as he puts it in his description of them’.

The ranger also said that although the announcement had been postponed owing to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II the day before and because they wanted to make sure the calf was healthy, the calf had likely been delivered on September 9. The matriarch from Scotland and the other two female bison are said to have arrived, although the bull’s entry has been postponed owing to Brexit-related complications. The 200-hectare site has reportedly been licenced for 10 bison, of which three have arrived.


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