Highlands & Islands

Highland Wildlife Park unveils new European bison bull

Tomek. Pic: Highland Wildlife Park
Image caption Tomek is the only male among the park's 11 females

A European bison bull has been struggling with the rugged terrain of his new home in the Highlands.

The four-year-old called Tomek previously ranged across a flat and grassy enclosure at Fota Wildlife Park, near Cork, in Ireland.

However, the landscape of the Highland Wildlife Park, near Kincraig, more closely resembles the species' natural habitat.

Tomek is the only male among the park's 11 females.

He was introduced to the Highlands park last month, but only now has he been officially unveiled by park bosses after giving him time to settle into his new surroundings.

'Charging around'

Animal collection manager Douglas Richardson said Tomek was starting to dominate the herd, particularly at meal-times.

He added: "There is one thing that the girls do have the upper hand with, and that's negotiating the park's uneven terrain and streams.

"Tomek's previous home was very flat and grassy, so he hasn't had any experience of a more natural and rugged environment.

"Whereas the girls are graceful despite their size, Tomek is still clumsily trying to figure things out.

"He'll get there soon though and will be charging around as quickly as the rest of the herd."

European Bison are Europe's largest and heaviest land mammal.

In 1927 the species became extinct in the wild.

A zoo-based breeding programme was launched and by 1952 the population had expended enough for bison to be introduced back into the wild.

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