Trip reference number: 7201

Trip Operator: Wildlife Worldwide

Rewilding Bison In The Tarcu Mountains Reserve

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Enjoy a short break to Romania to see European bison, which were reintroduced to the Southern Carpathian Mountains in 2014 after a 200 year absence. There are also opportunities to see the forest's other wildlife, which includes brown bear.

After reaching extinction here two centuries ago, 20 animals were brought from various European countries in the largest reintroduction of bison ever to take place in Europe. The ultimate goal is to build a herd at least 500-strong living in total freedom by 2025, in an area spanning 1.4 million hectares of wild mountain and valley in the southern part of the Carpathian chain. This weekend break allows you to witness the extraordinary story!

Using a completely new approach, Rewilding Europe and partner WWF-Romania initiated the reintroduction of bison to the Southern Carpathians. Other animals will be released at regular intervals at several pilot sites over a ten year period. Initially, the bison will be released into an acclimatisation zone, then progress to an adjoining larger zone that provides an opportunity for them to ‘re-wild' i.e. learn the skills necessary for their survival, and form a social herd structure. In September 2014 the first bison will finally be released into the wild, and become the first to roam the 59,000-hectare Tarcu Mountains Natura 2000 Reserve since the 18th century.

Once in the wild they will not be fed, so will be quickly absorbed into the region's natural ecosystem. This protected area will be managed by the natural grazing of the bison and other indigenous herbivores. For this reason Rewilding Europe plans to increase the numbers of other wildlife – in particular red and roe deer – and the existing presence of bears and wolves in the area could lead to the development of a predator-prey relationship that further restores the ecosystem.

Rewilding Europe is working to establish at least three new populations of at least 100 individuals in other suitable areas across the continent, and in 2015 plans to start a second release site in the region. Increasing the number of bison is important, not only for the survival of the species, but also for reasons of biodiversity, and the ecosystem will benefit from the impact of bison grazing. Last but not least, there must be sufficient bison and other wildlife to attract wildlife-watchers and allow a nature-based economy to develop, so the local community can benefit.

Also known as the wisent, the bison is a key species in the European ecosystem, playing an important role in biodiversity and the balance between forest and grassland habitats. In addition to being a flagship species for the re-establishment and subsequent protection of wilderness areas, the bison may also become an icon for regional economic development, as its presence will help to put the area on the map as one of Europe's major wilderness areas, and a prime destination for wildlife watching.

Suggested itinerary

The full itinerary detail is available on our website.

  1. Day 1: Fly to Timisoara
  2. Day 2: Tarcu Mountains Reserve: visit the bison enclosure & Bison Interpretation Centre
  3. Day 3: Tarcu Mountains Reserve: bear watching from a forest hide
  4. Day 4: Tarcu Mountains Reserve: visit Domogled-Valea Cernei National Park
  5. Day 5: Transfer to Timisoara airport & fly back to the UK
  • Available*: May to Jun; Sep to Oct
  • Price including flights from/to UK: From £1,645 pp
  • Price excluding international flights: From £1,345 pp
  • Activities available:
    • Mountaineering
    • Nature drive
    • Photography
    • Walking

This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website

** If you see this next to a price, a specific price in your currency has not been provided, this is an estimated-only price based on a currency conversion, the price you pay may be different to that shown

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