Polish Wisent-Breeding Specialists Visit The Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve

The Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve welcomed a delegation of important guests from Poland. Professor Vanda Oleh-Pyasetska, Head of IUCN European Bison Specialists Group and Head of the State Council for Environmental Protection, became the leader of the group of specialists in the sphere of wisent care.

During several days our Polish colleagues visited a number of natural protected areas of the Central Region of Russia, where wisents are bread, protected and reintroduced in their wild habitat. The Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve became the last point in their journey.

Their agenda included a visit to the Main Bison Breeding Center, exchange of knowledge with our specialists. They shared their opinions and impressions and started to form mutual plans for future cooperation. The important guests were very content with their visit. They paid a lot of attention to the Wisent Breeding Center and shared their views.


Doctor Vanda Oleh-Pyasetska, the head of the delegation: We have a long-lasting cooperation with the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve. According to European Bison Conservation Center rules, every country included in the organization should have its own coordinator. In Russia the coordinator is the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve. I’ve been in the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve earlier. Today I see, that many things were improved even in small details. For example, I love wrought iron gates with wisents. Cages are very clean and tidy. It just pleases the eye. The animals are in a very good shape. A participant of our delegation Yurek Datskevich, a famous wisent-breeder and colleague from the Polish side of Belovezha Forest, works with wisents for 36 years. He can understand the state of any wisent by just watching it closely. He said, that local wisents are healthy, strong and look great. Your wisents breed each year. It shows, that the conditions are very comfortable, concerning food and their emotional state. If the conditions had not been appropriate, the animals would have cease to breed.


The Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve has the possibility to manage the development of brood groups, to take genetic material from several seed bulls and it is a great success. Nevertheless, we believe, that genetic potential of wisents in the reserve needs new individuals. The last animal to be brought here was transported 15 years ago – it’s too long ago. The reserve should consider the possibility to import new individuals with new blood. In Russia wisents belong to Belovezha-Caucasus line, so you should import animals from Germany, for example, where they are of good genetic quality and belong to the same line.
The Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve wants to have two genetic lines, one of them is the Belovezha-Caucasus one and the other is from Belovezha Forest. The genetic core of Belovezha line is situated in Poland. In the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve wisents of Belovezha line will become a genetic fund. We plan to bring new animals as early as this year, but the execution may take time.

Our employees were very content with the visit of Polish specialists. To have an independent expert opinion of many important genetic parameters and health conditions of the animals is a huge advantage. It is also a boost to continue our work.


Irina Zemlyanko, the Head of the Wisent Breeding Center in the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve: The visit of the Polish colleagues is a continuation of or cooperation. Seeing is believing. We showed our wisents as living animals and not as pictures in another speech. Our colleagues had a chance to make sure, that we have a lot of wisents and they are healthy breeding animals. It is a big step for us. This visit is very fruitful for the reserve. We reached an agreement on joint genetic research. We started a plan of stock breeding to make a strong genetic fund of wisents on the basis of our reserve. That is why in 2017 we plan to import animals from Poland to restore Belovezha line in the reserve.

More information:

On December 30, 2016 58 pureblood wisent and 6 North American plains bison are kept in the Wisent Breeding Center of the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve. During 2016 14 adult female wisents (93%) gave birth to 14 healthy calves. The birth rate was 93% of adult females and 24% of the whole population. The increase, in comparison with 2015 (59%), is by 34%. One male wisent was transported to Rostov zoo for show and breeding. 100% of bison females gave birth. 2 female calves were born healthy. One bison was transported, on request of the zoo.

According to the order of the Department of State Policy and Environmental Regulations, issued in letter on 16.02.2016 №12-46/3092 and 22.08.2016 №12-46/21648, on the basis of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources working group recommendations in the sphere of European wisent protection in the Russian Federation, we examined the animals, which should be introduced in their wild habitat. Two state laboratories participated in the examination – FGBI Federal Center for Animal Health and FBI Ryazan Region Veterinary Laboratory – and were checked by FSBSI All-Russian Research Institute for Experimental Veterinary named after Y.R. Kovalenko. The researchers made a statement: “The animals are healthy and can be introduced in their habitat.”

In 2016 the cost of the reserve management was 12 052.9 thousand roubles.