English language Web site on current affairs in the biggest russian region
01:02 | Mar 27 | 2013

Magnificent bison are coming back to Motherland

On March 22 thirty Canadian wood bison from Elk Island National Park were brought to Yakutia. The hoggets endured an 8-hour-flight rather well. For the next month bison will be in quarantine in the bizonary (an enclosure for bison) of Ust-Buotama which is 140 km far from Yakutsk. Then they will be sent to Tympynai conservation area of Gorny region.  For the third time the Government of Canada passes bison to Yakutia within the frame of the Inter-governmental Agreement in a purpose of this species saving. The first bison were brought to Yakutia in 2006 and since that time they gave the yield of more than thirty heads.   

The Minister of Environmental Protection of the RS (Y) Vladimir Grigoriev gave a tour over the conservation territory: “These are fullmouthed bison. Despite of their frightfulness bison are absolutely safe for everyone besides men, of course. In comparison with Canada we have a lot of beasts of prey such as wolves and bears which are dangerous to bison. Bison are defenseless to these wild animals”.    

According to Vladimir Afanasievich’s words, bison’s management is not detrimental for the Republic: “Keeping of one bison requires 60 thousands roubles a year, which is much cheaper than cattle keeping, because bison live in the open air and eat velour grasses. Our bison are bigger than those from Canada though our climate is much more severe and our food reserve is inferior to their reserves. In the opinion of Canadian specialists it is connected to the fact that Yakutia is an ancestral home of bison.”  

- You have been in Canada. How much attention is paid to the problem of bison saving?

- There are a lot of volunteers taking care for them there. Patronage in Canada is rather widespread; private funds appropriate big money. Our bizonary should also have sponsors because it has tourist value.

-  When these bison will breed?

-  Sexual maturity occurs at age of 2.5 years. The brought bison will give animal yield in 3 years as well as the first party of bison. The fact of their fertility is the confirmation of their well acclimatization. 


 Andrei Popov, the deputy head of the Directorate of biological recourses told more about these magnificent animals:

-  The scientist of the Institute of Agriculture conduct veterinary inspection of our bison, the Institute of Biological Problems study behavioral and adaptive reactions of animals: they regularly monitor them to protect from infectious disease dissemination.  

- When are you planning to release them into the wild?

- It will be possible when the total number of bison will compose 500 heads. I think we will achieve this amount by 2020. Before their release the bison will be added into the Red Book of Yakutia. The animals will be chipped by satellite radio transmitters for their location tracking. It is worth noting that we can control at our own discretion only bison being born in the Republic.   

- What is the territory of enclosures?

- Total territory is about 60 ha. We are planning to increase the number of bizonaries within the territory of Yakutia in the very near future.

- How did the first party of bison acclimate?

- Very successfully. The first calves born in 2008 have already given the animal yield. Last summer two Yakutian bison was born in “Tympynai”. At the moment there are 30 adults and 5 calves in “Ust-Buotama”. This year we are expecting large animal yield. Calves are suckled for 2-3 months on the average, pregnancy lasts 9 months. 

- Bison – what is it?

- Bison is sedate and well-natured but in the hour of danger it can be very hazardous. As a defense it uses horns, hooves and its weight.

- Do our bison have names?

- Of course. The staff looking after them distinguish bison by names. We have Veronika, Dusya, Bootur and others.

In comparison with adults, yearling bison look rather small. The new party will be kept in quarantine for some time for their adaptation in new conditions; in a month they will be sent to “Tympynai” reserve of Gorny region – to their “permanent home”, - told Andrei Leonidovich. 

The Minister of Nature Protection of the Republic handed letters of thanks to the head of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance of the RS (Y) Nikolai Arkhipov and the head of Yakutsk Customs Terminal – the colonel of customs service Fyodor Chepalov. Fyodor Vladimirovich promised to “release the next party of bison to the wild from a plane”.

“The today’s event succeeded thanks to a well-coordinated work of large ministries: the MFA of the RF, the Ministry of Nature and Natural Resources Protection of the RF, the Republic Government including the Ministry of Nature Protection of RS (Y) and the Ministry of External Relations of RS (Y), the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, the veterinary and customs services of the republic”, - added Vladimir Afanasievich. 

Mikhail Kulikov – the first deputy Minister of Federative Affairs and External Relations of the RS (Y):

- This project is of international and planetary significance as we help to restore population of bison lived here before. On March 14 the Ambassador of Canada John Sloan visited Yakutsk. Mr. Sloan marked that this project was one of the main links between Russia and Canada. The project is unique and it wouldn’t be possible without valuable contribution of the MFA of the RF, the Ministry of Nature Protection of the RF and our Canadian colleagues. We hope that bison will live in Yakutia as many ages ago.      

Viktoria Gurjeva