European bison – Bison Bonasus
European Bison -Bison bonasus
The European bison is a great ruminant cattle.
There are two living species:
- the North American Bison, bison bison
- the European bison, bison bonasus
The first lives mainly in the North American steppes and the second in forest.
Both species now living are very close, since they are fertile hybrids. It appears that the fertility of the hybrid is the same as that of the unhybridized animals. North American and European bison are two subspecies, they are not distinct.
Extinct species are:
- Buffalo (bison) antiquus: North America.
- Bison latifrons: America Nord
- Bison menneri : Europe
- Bison palaeosinensis: Asia
- Bison priscus: Eurasia and North America
- Bison schoetensacki Bison: Europe
- Bison sivalensis (Falconer, 1878): China
- Bison tamanensis: Russia
- Bison voigtstedtensis: Europe
The European bison was very common on the European continent, from the Atlantic to the Urals in Italy, Scandinavia and the British Isles, until the Middle Ages. Exterminated in the wild after the First World War, the European bison then only survived in captivity. It was gradually reintroduced into the wild after the Second World War.
The average weight of the male is about 700kg, the size can reach 2 meters at the withers. Females are smaller, weighing between 350 and 600 kg. It is the largest land mammal in Europe.
The bison is a typical animal in North America and a symbol for many Native American cultures.