Wisent Augustine Under the Auspices of Journalists

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Editorial stuff of the Moscow Region News Agency (MRNA)“adopted” a wisent called Augustine, which lives in Bison Breeding Center of The Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve.On March 16, 2017 Svetlana Rodionova, Deputy Director for Development, Tourism and Ecological Education of the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve, presented Maxim Sharapov, Editor in Chief of MRNA, with a certificate of “adaptation” of Augustine.

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Photo made by MRNA

Augustine was born in 2009. He has a challenging destiny. He was transported in bad shape to the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve’s Breeding Center from Orlovskoye Polesye National Park.

“He was in a sad state and nobody believed in his happy future. We didn’t even want to take him, as we doubted, that he would survive. It took him some time to get accustomed. Within 8 years in our Breeding Center Augustine transformed from a timid calf into a strong bull. Now he looks like a pureblood wisent. He created the most peaceful and distinguished family. Today he has four calves. Augustine is a marvelous farther. He takes care of the females, of the calves. We even saw him “pushing” the calves slightly towards the drinking bowl,” said Irina Zemlyanko, Deputy Director for Wisent Care and Breeding and the Head of Bison Breeding Center.

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Photo made by MRNA

Lately, when wisent breeding specialists from Poland visited the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve, they took a fur sample for further analysis of Augustine’s genetic status and pedigree. Irina Zemlyanko also paid attention to the fact, that in Augustine’s family there are four females – the oldest Mulana, Mursedes, Munika and Muriana – and four calves, two of which are males – Ilya Muromets and Mubassador Tefft, adopted by John Tefft, the US ambassador – and two female calves – Mura and Murita. In May or June we hope for more calves in this family. MRNA employees visited the wisents and said, that Augustine and his family are very friendly, curious, calm and like to be taken pictures of. And they look great! Svetlana Radionova told the journalists, that in 2016 nine wisents were “adopted” and in 2017 a whole bison family is waiting to be “adopted”. Today 58 wisents and 6 bisons live on the territory of the reserve. 21 wisents will be transported to their wildlife habitats, as 14 calves will be born in the nearest future.

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Adopt a Wisent Program was launched in the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve 12 years ago. Our goal is to attract sponsors to improve living conditions of animals in the Breeding Center. Today more then 120 wisents are “adopted”. All “adopting parents” pay 50 000 roubles annually to provide the animals with food, veterinarian services and to support infrastructure of the reserve, including repairs. Sponsors’ help gives us the chance to solve some minor problems by ourselves – to buy small portions of succulent feed, to buy necessary materials for our volunteers or to manage the territory.