“The local community should increasingly benefit from bison comeback”
Team leader of Southern Carpathians
How would you characterise your rewilding area?
The largest wilderness stronghold in Europe, with high levels of biodiversity and ecological corridors on a large scale. It also has a unique culture and history. The reintroduced European bison is the main attraction here, along with other iconic species such as bear, wolf, lynx and large ungulates. This fantastic wildlife means that there is a unique opportunity to develop nature-based tourism and other nature-friendly enterprises.
What have the major achievements been in your rewilding area to date?
Rewilding Europe and WWF Romania have been reintroducing bison into the Southern Carpathians since 2014, and as part of the European Commission-funded LIFE Bison project since 2016. The total number of bison in the rewilding area had reached 54 by the end of 2019.
We are also growing a nature-based economy based on the bison reintroduction.
Local people have been employed as bison guides and rangers, and our rewilding area is becoming increasingly well known as a wildlife tourism destination, with bison watching and tracking experiences offered through the European Safari Company. A refurbished visitor centre in Armeniș now educates people on bison ecology, while a refurbished wilderness cabin opened near Armeniș in 2017. We also have an educational outreach programme which has seen a growing number of Romanian schoolchildren learn about European bison and rewilding.