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Bulgaria's Rhodope Mountains Witness Historic European Bison Return

European bison are now roaming free in the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria for the first time since the Middle Ages. This will help to boost local biodiversity and underpin the development of nature-based tourism.

Momentous milestone

For the first time in centuries, European bison are now roaming free in the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria. The herd of seven animals (two males and five females) was released from their enclosure this summer and is now living free in the Studen Kladenets Hunting Reserve (part of the Rhodope Mountains rewilding area), where the Rewilding Rhodopes team is monitoring their behaviour and movement on a daily basis.

“This is a momentous occasion,” says Hristo Hristov, a rewilding officer attached to the Rewilding Rhodopes team. “The animals are now reoccupying their former ecological niche, finding water and food, learning to protect themselves against wolves and jackals, and exploring the challenging terrain.”

Baby boost

The good news doesn’t end at the bison release. One of the free-roaming female bison has already given birth – this is the first bison calf born in the wild south of the River Danube since the Middle Ages. The female calf and mother are both doing well.

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