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Bringing wisents back to the Caucasus Mountains: 70 years of a grand mission

January 1, 2010

We describe the history of mountain wisent restoration in the north-west Caucasus region. We review information on wisent during the 18th and 19th centuries, contemporary regional development and reasons for wisent extirpation. We emphasize the key role of the Kuban Hunting Reserve as a main factor in preserving wisent in this region between 1888 and 1909. The article provides information on the fate of three known Caucasus wisent and their impact on the common pedigree of EuropeanWisent. The importance of scientist’s efforts to conserve the survived wisent in Europe in 1920th and international cooperation is underscored. The issues of hybridization between wisent and American bison and the possible influence of hybridization events on the and taxonomic status of contemporary mountain wisent are discussed. We describes in detail the history of wisent reintroduced to the Caucasus, the establishment of seasonal migration patterns and adaptation to the mountainous region and poaching pressures. Mountain wisent reached a maximum number of 1500 animals in 1991. We review the significant role of the Caucasian Biosphere Reserve and its zoologists in conservation of mountain wisent in its historical area and current research objectives with the support of German conservation organizations.

Publication Year 2010
Title Bringing wisents back to the Caucasus Mountains: 70 years of a grand mission
Authors Taras Sipko, Sergei Trepet, Peter J. Gogan, Ivan Mizin
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title European Bison Conservation Newletter
Index ID 70136149
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center