Wild Bison Return to England After 6,000-Year Absence

Jul 21, 2022

For the first time in thousands of years, wild bison roam England. Scientists released the animals in an effort to revive the species there. They want to help the land become more biodiverse.

Scientists with the Kent Wildlife Trust this week released three female European bison in Britain. The species was nearly wiped out in Europe. They are the closest living relatives of ancient steppe bison. Those haven’t been seen in England for 6,000 years.

A male bull will join the wild cows soon. Then, ponies, pigs, and other animals will be released. The project leaders hope they will care for the landscape without human help.

The trust's CEO told The Guardian the project is an “inexpensive tool in tackling the climate crisis."

The UK is one of the world's most "nature-depleted" countries. There isn't enough diversity in plant and animal life. The return of the bison is meant to change that. 

The bison graze, knock down trees, chew bark, and roll in dust. Those actions bring in new plants and animals. That could transform the English countryside. Scientists say the bison could help the habitat become wetter. That would make the land store more carbon and reduce floods.

Unlike cattle, bison don’t overgraze. They also don’t require human care and thrive in extreme environments. And while bison, like cattle, emit methane, a greenhouse gas, their overall effect on the environment is positive, scientists say.  

Photo by Drew Dau courtesy of Unsplash.

The author uses the conclusion to _______. (Common Core RI.5.5; RI.6.5)
a. explain exactly how bison will increase biodiversity
b. educate about the history of the bison in the UK
c. compare the environmental impact of bison compared to cattle
d. describe other animals that will also be introduced into the area
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