PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
European Bison (Bison bonasus) Gesner Woodcut "Icones Animalium" 1560. Publ. Christoph Froschover, Zurich. Gesner was at pains to show the difference between the European bison (or Wisent) and the then still extant Auroch in his writings. Both were already rare in Europe and often confused due to unfamiliarity - the auroch would go extinct in less than a century. The last wild European bison were shot in the Bialowieza forest of Poland in 1921 and the new extinct Caucasus species in 1927. Fortunately there were still breeding individuals of the Bialowieza subspecies in captivity and they have now been reintroduced into several countries. European was classified by the IUCN as endangered in 1996, but it has since been placed as 'Vulnerable'.
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