DiCaprio supports and publicises bison rewilding in England

Three European bison were relocated into a nature reserve near Canterbury, England, UK last month. The project is called Wilder Blean in reference to the addition of bison to West Blean and Thornden Woods to act as natural engineers. The project welcomes publicity and they’ve got it as the bisons’ fame has gone global thanks to an endorsement from the actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

Di Caprio supports rewilding of bison into England
Di Caprio supports rewilding of bison into England. Image: MikB from images in the public domain.

Everyone knows Leonardo DiCaprio and his starring roles in Titanic, The Departed and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He also starred in The Revenant. In that film he insisted on eating genuine raw bison liver apparently. It is an incredibly realistic film.

DiCaprio wrote on Facebook about the bison rewilding: “European bison are the continent’s largest land animal and were extinct in the wild a century ago. They are recovering through reintroduction projects across Europe, and recently three were released into the Kent countryside in Canterbury, becoming the first wild bison to roam in Britain for thousands of years.”

He said that the animals natural behaviour will help to create a more natural woodland “allowing for new plants, insects and wildlife to thrive”. DiCaprio has 19 million Facebook followers so this was good publicity. He urged his followers to “learn more about how the bison are examined and how [their] behaviour will bring the opportunity for new life”.

Charlotte Lewis, a conservationist at the Kent Wildlife Trust was pleased and said: “The team have worked so hard to increase awareness of this project and highlight the benefits that nature-based solutions, like the release of bison in Kent, can offer to help fight the biodiversity and climate crises. So, we’re really excited to see that news of the project has reached Hollywood and hugely grateful to Leonardo DiCaprio for sharing it.”

The project received £1.1 million from the People’s Postcode Lottery and it took three years of planning. Lewis suggested: “If each of his followers donates just £1 or perhaps $1 to us, we could fund this project and more for years to come. We hope this will help encourage and inspire more people to support wildlife and nature in Kent, the UK and around the globe.”

The bison have deliberately not been named I guess to keep the project wilder. They are three females, one a 13-year-old matriarch and two 3-year-old other females. They will be joined by a three-year-old ball which will be brought over from Germany. They hope that the herd will eventually grow to be 20 in number.

Bisons can weigh up to a ton each. They will also introduce Exmoor ponies, Longhorn cattle and Iron Age pigs to the landscape which they hope will become more resilient to climate change and hardier, allowing more drought-resistant species to thrive.

The bison have already created space for new species and plants by clearing areas and making paths. They’ve stripped bark from trees which apparently creates valuable deadwood for birds bats and insects. Their dung can act as fertiliser.

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Post Category: Conservation