Not far from Moscow there is one of the few places where you can see the largest animal in Europe – European bison.
Just a 90-minute drive from Moscow, in the Prioksko-Terrasny Nature Biosphere Reserve, there is a European bison nursery.
European bison is a huge animal weighing up to a ton.
The history of European bison is sad. European bisonwere widespread in most parts of Europe. However, with everypassing century the European bison population dwindled. The main damage was caused by the World Wars I and II.
Here are a few facts about European bison for nature lovers:
- European bison are moved between different reserves to improve their gene pool. To do this, at the age of three bison are separated from their herds.
- There used to be no Bering Straitbetween Asia and America, and European bison could settle freely. European bison and American bison can interbreed, giving viable offspring.
- Calves are born after 9 months, weigh up to 25 kg, they eat their mother’s milk – up to 6 liters per day.
The picture compares a European bison (on the right) and an American bison. European bison has longer legs because it has to walk through deep snow and reach for branches. American bison has shorter tail, because in its habitat there’re significantly less blood-sucking insects. American bison with age develop a beard, while European bison wears it off. American bison is covered with hair only in front to protect from grass, and European bison is covered with hair all over for protection against the cold.
In bison nursery of the the Prioksko-Terrasny Nature Biosphere Reserve bison are kept in corrals. These corrals are so big that you can’t see the other side, and it feels as if the mesh wall only separates bison from us, visitors. Bison are fed in those places where visitors go. So you can always see European bison up close.
Make sure to find the time and drive up to this unique bison nursery near Moscow!
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