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A baby bison
Photograph: Donovan Wright

A wild bison has been born in the UK – the first in thousands of years

Rangers say the birth is a ‘eureka’ moment for Kent’s rewilding project

Ella Doyle
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Ella Doyle
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It’s been a serious week in the UK, with bad news seeming to come for us at every turn. Amid all the doom and gloom, it can be easy to forget that nice things are still happening sometimes, can’t it? Like, actually nice things that make you smile. Who would’ve thought?

Well, here’s something positive to take you into the weekend. Kent’s rewilding project has had a huge success – in the form of a little baby bison. But this isn’t just any baby bison. This is the first wild bison to be born in the UK for literally thousands of years.

Three female bison were released in Kent in July this year as part of a pioneering rewilding project with the Kent Wildlife Trust and Wildwood Trust, with a male arriving in August. Bison conceal their pregnancies to protect their babies from predators, so it wasn’t until a couple of days had passed that rangers found the baby calf hidden in a secluded spot. 

A baby bison
Photograph: Donovan Wright

The bisons were expected to breed over the course of the project, but this new calf came as a happy surprise. Bison ranger Tom Gibbs told The Guardian: ‘There were a couple of days when we didn’t see female two and that was sort of an alarm bell, because she’s normally very confident and the one up at the front. I hoped she was okay.’

‘Then, lo and behold, this little face popped out from behind the female... and that was the eureka moment. It was just unbelievable to think this is the first wild born bison here in England. It was just a monumental moment.’

Rangers reckon the baby bison was born on September 9, but didn’t want to announce it then due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II the day before. The project has appealed for donations to continue the great work – you can find out more here.

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