By Laman Ismayilova
Caucasus bisons have been released into a special area of Ismayilli branch of the Shahdag National Park.
The animals were brought to Azerbaijan under "Reintroduction of bisons in Azerbaijan" project jointly implemented by IDEA Public Union, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Azerbaijan office.
The ceremony to release the bisons was attended by Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Founder and Head of IDEA Public Union Leyla Aliyeva and Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Mukhtar Babayev.
Eight wild oxen, Caucasian bisons, were brought from the zoos of France and Belgium to Azerbaijan as their population in the country has disappeared.
For them, a special area has been created at Ismayilli branch of the Shahdag National Park. After adaptation in this area, these animals will be released into the Shahdag National Park. This year, delivery of another 12 Caucasian bisons is planned.
The ceremony to release the bisons was attended by local residents and schoolchildren. They familiarized themselves with the work of restoring the population of endangered species. At the same time, lectures on the history of bisons in Azerbaijan, the role of these animals in nature, and their protection were organized for local young nature lovers.
Although bisons were once common in Eurasia in a very wide range, at the beginning of the last century, their population in the wild almost disappeared. The last bison in the Caucasus Mountains was killed in 1927. The vast majority of bisons in the world are bred in zoos, and efforts to restore the species continue in this way. Wild oxen are strong animals known as a symbol of power since ancient times.
The IDEA Public Union, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and the WWF Azerbaijan office jointly implement successful projects to restore the populations of Caucasian leopards, gazelles and bisons, which are rare species in Azerbaijan.
Taking into account the potential role of bisons in further enriching biodiversity in Azerbaijan and the development of forest ecosystems, the project organizers call on the population of the country's northern regions and the public to support the work on their return to the nature of the Caucasus and prevention of illegal hunting.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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