Restoration of bison continues

What happened to the bison population after the liberation of the territory of the “Belovezhskaya Pushcha”.

After the liberation of the territory of the “Belovezhskaya Pushcha” by Soviet troops in 1944, the state border between the USSR and Poland passed through it, and in such a way that the bison nursery, together with the entire remaining number of bison, remained on Polish territory. In the USSR, there was once again only one thoroughbred bison “Bodo” in Askania-Nova. Again, the question arose of obtaining purebred bison from abroad.

In July 1946, a Soviet delegation consisting of Mikhail Zablotsky, Senior Researcher of the Main Directorate for Reserves under the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR, P. Osadchy, Head of the Main Directorate for the Reserves of the SSR, was sent to Warsaw to negotiate the receipt of bison from Poland. The Council of Ministers of the BSSR and the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the BSSR, L. Malyukevich. As a result of the negotiations, an agreement was reached on the transfer of 5 bison from Poland to the Soviet Union, which on July 18, 1946 were transported across the state border to Belovezhskaya Pushcha of Belorussia, establishing the bison nursery that existed there until 1969.
However, the historical experience of the first half of the twentieth century showed that Belovezhskaya Pushcha twice – during the First World War and during the Second World War – was a theater of military operations and a territory occupied by German troops. Due to such a dangerous and unstable geopolitical situation and the bordering position of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the conservation of bison on its territory could not be guaranteed.

The need to create a bison nursery in the center of Russia, far from state borders and possible border conflicts, became acute. This idea, together with the leadership of the Main Directorate for Reserves under the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR, the responsible performer of the restoration of the bison in the USSR, MA. Zablotsky was actively supported by the famous zoologists – professors of the Moscow University Vladimir Heptner, Georgy Dementiev and Dr. Petr Jurgenson.