News from the Natural World: Bison herd reintroduced to the UK gets off to a disastrous start.
On July 18, 2022, Kent Wildlife Trust and Wildwood Trust introduced a small herd of bison into West Blean and Thornden Woods, a nature reserve located a short distance from the city of Canterbury. The plan was to leave the bison to chow down on the plants, bulldoze trees, and generally rearrange the ancient woodland as they see fit. The idea is that the bison will achieve naturally what conservationists have struggled with: manipulating the vegetative growth to provide habitats for a greater range of flora and fauna.
Bison Herd Reintroduced to the UK After 5,000 Year Absence
But after just one month almost the entire herd of Bison perished in the recent drought which has affected the UK. Parts of southern, central and eastern England are in drought status following the driest July since 1935. South-east England is being tipped into the ominous severe and devastating category. Severe drought would mean even graver danger, such as bans on non-essential uses of water including cleaning windows and filling and maintaining swimming pools. In fact, the conditions were severe and only one bison remains. We decided to interview the bison to find out how it was coping in the extreme weather;
“It’s been an absolute nightmare, to be honest. I mean you wait 5,000 years to come home and then pffff it’s all gone in a month. I’d rather be anywhere than this man-made sweatbox. Did you humans think about the fact that you were introducing us bison to a completely different habitat? One in which humans have caused so much damage and destruction that rainwater is no longer safe to drink, that the planet is artificially heating and that there are so many species being wiped out it has been declared a sixth extinction. Did you really think this temperature would work for us? We’re covered in thick hair and you’ve warmed the planet beyond repair. It’s a bloody disgrace!”