This is fun but

Wild bison are to be reintroduced to Britain after 15,000 years as part of a “groundbreaking” rewilding conservation scheme….

European bison and American buffalo are different species. They also act very differently. The European is rather like the shy retiring cousin that stays in the forest – the forest elephant, not the plains one.

So it’s not quite as magnificent this reintroduction.

To make things really exciting I’m waiting for someone to get to work on the DNA of the aurochs – that would make the woods fun again.

29 thoughts on “This is fun but”

  1. I think it’s a good idea.

    Once the numbers get up a bit they’ll make for splendid shooting. Except that will never happen.

  2. How many hikers/walkers will they kill each year? Oh it won’t be many but it will still be a few folk who might otherwise have been alive.

    Important to the victims if not a matter to concern the bison-fucking eco-freak scum.

  3. “How many hikers/walkers will they kill each year? Oh it won’t be many ”

    I’d say that was a plus………….

    Incidentally, whats the legality of these ‘release extinct animal into the wild’ schemes? Pretty much everywhere belongs to someone, so if I were to manage to breed (say) woolly mammoths and just let them free on someone else’s land, surely I would be responsible for any damage done? Presumably any animal is legally someones property before it is released, so are you allowed to just relinquish all legal responsibility like that?

  4. The Meissen Bison

    Jim, I imagine that the chain of responsibility will be long and confused with a number of NGOs, quangos and govt agencies being involved and declining responsibility. When the hikers and walkers get trampled and gored, there will be heartfelt expressions of regret and lessons will have been learned.

    On another point, if these bison like woodland, where are they going to hang out? England is not rich in large forested areas and extensive coniferous plantations elsewhere will be as depressing to bison as they are to humans.

  5. Nobody seems to be worried about the number of people killed by perfectly ordinary ‘non-aggressive’ domestic cattle. Hikers, dog-walkers and the farmers themselves. That is the biggest danger in the countryside. In urban areas, it’s humans.

  6. They aren’t being ‘released into the wild’, though, are they?

    And the escaped now-feral wild boar are far more dangerous anyway.

  7. Domestic cattle are not usually aggressive but are pretty large and clumsy which is why people get injured. Farmers likely because they work alone and get crushed, the townie’s because they are twats and don’t think what 750 Kg of beef will do to them if it gets close. Double so when they consider the countryside to be their own personal parkland and let their dogs run off leads.

  8. Aurochs would be fun.
    Big – very thick – walls to keep them in. And no one trespasses on land the auroch claim.
    Oh look honey an auroch calf, just take a picture of me standing next to him…. splat.

  9. We could do with some lynx around here to keep down the muntjacs that have increased markedly over the past 20 years. Also the badgers that dig up our lawn could do with a cull. We never used to see badgers until the last decade.

  10. Reintroducing lynx would be great, far too many deer round here. Aurochs though, I’d rather not – they were the one thing Julius Caesar was afraid of.

  11. “Domestic cattle are not usually aggressive but are pretty large and clumsy which is why people get injured. Farmers likely because they work alone and get crushed, the townie’s because they are twats and don’t think what 750 Kg of beef will do to them if it gets close. Double so when they consider the countryside to be their own personal parkland and let their dogs run off leads.”

    There’s a lot wrong with all that.
    Firstly cattle can be very aggressive. Particularly cows with young calves at foot. They will seek out any perceived threats and actively attack. Never go into a field of cattle with a dog where there are cows and young calves present, its asking for trouble, unless you know what you are doing.
    Secondly farmers get injured by cattle mainly because they’ve gotten old. Less able to move quickly out of harms way, less able to see the danger coming in the first place, more likely to receive serious injuries and less able to recover from them. Also some breeds are farm more aggressive than others. Native UK breeds are usually quite docile, Continental breeds can be far more flighty (Limousins I’m looking at you!).
    Thirdly the thing you should do if attacked by cattle is let the dog go. Do not keep it on the lead by you. Its far more likely to be able to keep out of harms way than you are. It is also the focus of the cattle’s attention, letting it go will mean they tend to go for it, not you. Every year there’s cases of people who end up dead because they hang on to their dog’s lead, get trampled and killed while the dog escapes unharmed.

  12. @ Jim

    “There’s a lot wrong with all that.”

    And yet you go on to basically agree with what I said…

    * Cows not *usually* aggressive – “particularly cows with young calves”, “Native UK breeds are usually quite docile”.
    * Farmers because they work alone – “they’ve gotten old. Less able to move quickly out of harms way,”.
    * Townie’s are twats and they don’t think – “Never go into a field of cattle with a dog where there are cows and young calves present”, “cattle can be very aggressive. Particularly cows with young calves”.

    Not seeing much you disagree with here.

  13. “Aurochs would be fun.
    Oh look honey an auroch calf, just take a picture of me standing next to him…. splat.”

    We’ve got a project running in the Netherlands** . The last bit is what has (almost) happened twice now… The beasties LOOK slow, and dumb. They are not. And quite agressive when it comes to their calves…. Forget the bulls.. Mama “cow” is what you have to watch out for…

    ** Why on earth, as a biologist, I don’t get… Last time we conclusively had them running around here was when there were also mammoth running around in what’s now the North Sea…. But hey…”Environmentalists”….

  14. The Meissen Bison

    TG

    Wretched badgers used to dig in what passes for a lawn here, trying to get at bumblebee larvae and other things that belong on the menus of “I’m a Celebrity, Remember Me”. They also like to destroy sweetcorn.

    However, here’s a badger tip for you: they particularly dislike male pee (human) so sprinkle some of that around. If you leave it to mature in a bottle for a week or so, it is particularly offensive.

  15. Hard to say what kind of scheme it is, but it’s not a ‘conservation scheme.’

    The Wildlife Trusts is introducing an invasive, non native species.

    Horses were introduced to North America by the Spanish around 1500. No one would consider it a ‘conservation scheme.’ Even though horses went extinct in NA around 10,000 years ago.

    Does ‘conservation scheme’ mean, “There is no damn reason for doing it?”

  16. Jim, there’s a case called Mirvahedy v Henley, from about 2003,which became the definitive statement on strict liability for the harmful acts of one’s animals. I’m on my blower, so can’t check, but I suspect it remains good law.

    OTOH, I suspect Mr B is right about how these things can be done without any blowback to the miscreants involved.

  17. M v H, by the way is well worth looking at, just for its facts.

    A particularly rigorous application of strict liability, if memory serves.

    bailii ought to give you the goods.

  18. When I was about four my mother explained that a curious cow or bullock was a thing with no brakes. So always walk up hill of a herd and let the incline do the job, or distract them with the dog.

  19. I had to vault a hedge to escape some frisky bullocks once.

    But cows? Nah, I used to cross a cattle pasture four times a day in the drier months when I was a lad. Talk gently to the ladies and keep on their left side. Piece of cake.

    (They tended to turn themselves so that I could go in my required direction and still keep on their left. Terribly obliging; Ayrshires I expect. Someone O/L once explained the “left” business to me but I’ve forgotten his explanation. Pity; it was kind of him. Nor do I have any idea how the young me learnt it in the first place. Observation? Trial and error? “Everybody knows”? Fluke?)

  20. Learn something new every day.

    Fight and flight? Right side of brain, left eye – and humans are generally a potential threat. Whereas the left side of their brain (right eye) is for considering food….

  21. European bison rather like Angus Cow then: prefer hiding up hills under trees, like deer

    Will farmers be allowed to rear, slaughter and sell the meat?

    If not BBC Towniefile will be airing “Wild Bison being illegally hunted/poisoned”

  22. @Helder

    Interesting! Had heard of this but then forgotten about it. Slight typo, it’s https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tauros_Programme

    I see they’re making some compromises re authenticity: “Although claimed to be genetically close to the aurochs, the Lidia breed (Spanish fighting bull) was not used for the project due to its aggressive behaviour”

  23. @ dearieme
    Ayrshires are generally tolerant; we used to be warned to avoid Friesans as much as possible. Fortunately there weren’t many Friesans in the Highlands.

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