European Bison (Bison bonasus)
Species Information

European Bison - Copyright Howletts and Port Lympne

DESCRIPTION: Also known as the wisent, the European buffalo is the largest wild land mammal surviving in Europe3,4. Males may reach a weight of 1000 kgs!4 They grow up to 195cm (6½ foot) at shoulder height and have a large shoulder hump1. Their coat is brown to dark brown and is shaggy around the neck and front legs2, although the rest of the coat is short and lighter in colour. The horns are forward facing2.

HABITAT: The European bison is found in deciduous and mixed forests1. Historically it was found throughout western, central and southeastern Europe, but by the 19th century there were only 2 populations left in the wild, in the Bialoweiza forest and the western Caucasus mountains. The wisent has been reintroduced to Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and Slovakia3.