TWO HAY STORAGE FACILITIES FOR BISONS WERE BUILT IN ARKHYZ
Arkhyz group of European bisons has about 40 individuals so far. In summer, the animals find food on their own, but in winter it is more difficult to do it, so the animals are regularly fed up. Due to the proximity of settlements to their habitats, bisons sometimes come out to people, which causes problems.Feeding bisons in the conditions of snowy winters in the Kizgichiskiy Forestry solves two tasks at once: it supports the grouping of the Red Data Book animal and minimizes conflicts between bison and humans. Employees of the Teberdinskiy National Park feed the horned giants with mixed fodder and hay. To prevent the latter from spoiling, it was decided to build hay storages. The Teberdinskiy National Park project was financially supported by WWF-Russia. This has resulted in two hay storages being constructed within a couple of months: a large one with a volume of 540 cubic meters, and a small one - 160 cubic meters.
A large hay storage is located on the feeding area, where bisons descend before winter. The second is part of a trapping enclosure, a few kilometers from the site. "The presence of a hay storage in a trapping enclosure will help to lure and catch bisons, as well as successfully quarantine animals that are soon to be relocated from Arkhyz to Turmonskiy Sanctuary in North Ossetia," - explains Roman Mnatsekanov, Senior Project Coordinator of Russian Caucasus Ecoregional Office WWF-Russia, - "The relocation of bisons within the framework of the plan for 2022-2023 will reduce the burden on the territory and conflicts with locals. It will also give the opportunity to Arkhyz males to participate in procreation in another grouping and increase the population of Caucasus bisons in Russia."
The hay storage project is almost completed and is at the final stage. In the near future, the storages will be sheathed with profiled flooring, which will additionally protect fodder between seasons.
WWF-Russia has been working on creation of a free-living population of bisons in the forests of the European part of Russia since 1996. 57 animals were imported from Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Finland and Belgium from 1999 to 2002. In 2017 WWF-Russia brought 17 more animals from Sweden. Over the past 12 years, WWF-Russia has released 54 bison on the territory of Karachay-Cherkess and North Ossetia Republics. With the support of WWF-Russia, groups are monitored, and census is also being carried out. Today, the total population of bisons in the region is more than 180 purebred individuals.