Once widespread across Europe, wild European bison were driven to extinction in the early twentieth century by hunting and habitat loss. Since 2013, Rewilding Europe and WWF Romania have been working together in the Southern Carpathians rewilding area to reestablish free-roaming populations of this iconic animal.
The first bison releases took place in the Țarcu Mountains, close to the small town of Armeniș, continuing every year. In 2018 another 23 bison were released into the wild, including 14 animals at new rewilding site in the Poiana Ruscă Mountains.
The bison is the landscape architect of animals contributing to the health of forests and meadows; large carnivores and small mammals but also species reptiles and birds depend on bison in order to thrive.
The overall objective of the LIFE Bison project, which runs until 2021, is to establish a wild bison population that is demographically and genetically viable by reintroducing individuals at the Poiana Ruscă and Țarcu Mountains Natura 2000 sites, support community development and education in the spirit of protecting nature. These animals are being sourced from zoos, breeding centres and nature reserves across Europe, and also from Romanian reserves such as Vama Buzăului.