European Bison or Wisent
The European bison also known as the Wisent, is a forest dwelling bison, and love conifer and spruce forest habitat, so they thrive in mixed type forests like we have here at Silvertine.
European bison browse more, and graze less than their American relatives, due to their necks being set differently, and them evolving in a forested environment of northern Europe and Russia. I have raised the American Bison as well in the past, and have noticed the European Bison do better and utilize poor pastures with more bush and low brush than their American cousins. From my experince the European Bison utilize around 30-40% of their diet from browsing compared to the 5% maybe of the American Bison.
The European Bison, occurs in the Bialowieza Forest area in Poland and Belarus. At one point the European Bison was endangered and did not live in the wild anymore due to habitat displacement (Agricultural and Logging Practices) and settlers needing to harvest the Bison to feed their families. The European Bison is a success story of a species that can be brought to the edge of extinction, and threw the great efforts of a few, it has been brought back for us to enjoy. No longer on the endangered species list they estimate that the world population both wild and ranched is around 4000 plus animals.
The European bison is the largest land mammal in Europe, older mature bulls weigh up to 1800lbs and stand 6 - 6.5 feet at the shoulder. They are built much different than the American Bison because they evolved as a browser in the forest more so than a grazer. They have longer legs and tail, shorter hair and their horns point more forward like domestic cattle than up like the American Bison. The meat tastes exactly the same as American Bison in flavor and texture.
There is only two breeders in all of North America for this unique animal. One fellow in the USA and myself here in Canada at Silvertine. My entire herd stems from the original imports from Europe, and these original animals are still in alive and well in my herd today! When the importing Zoo discovered they were too much to handle, they sold them. Mine are these original pure-blood stock, and as of 2018 my herd has grown to over 40 head, making them "probably" one of the largest private herds in the world.
For more info on the Wisent, please feel free to visit my website that specilizes in them at www.thewisent.ca