Human impact on planet Earth is becoming more and more obvious nowadays. Excessive resource usage, global warming and species extinction are the most notable effects of humankind presence on the planet.

According to IUCN data, 844 species of animals and plants became extinct during last 500 years. And the reason for this extinction was, doubtless, a humankind, because 500 years is not the a significant time for natural exticntion.

Helpless dodo bird from Mauritius, Tasmanian thylacine, two giant ostrich species – moa and elephant bird, steller’s sea cow decimated in 27 years after being discovered…  the most known, but the lesser part of sad stroies of extinction caused by people. Plenty of species are still moving to the edge. Our grandkids risk to be born in the world without tigers, black rhinos, blue whales and other animals.

But this chronicles contains happy ending stories. I would name the whaling ban and the acceptance of CITES among the most important points of wildlife conservation in XX century.

For USSR and Eastern Europe, wisent recovery became the most notable achievment.

Wisent also known as European bison, got such names as “Tsar’s beast” and “The lord of Taiga”. This giants look like a relicts survived from the Ice age and can grow up to 2 meters height and weight up to 1200 kilos. Such big and beautiful animal was popular hunting target and became nearly extinct in the beginning of XX century. Plenty of national parks and zoos were destroyed or abandoned after Worl War I. In 1926th the last wild wisent was killed in mountains of Caucasus, and from 45 to 70 individauls left in zoos and private reserves.

After the terrors of war were gone, scientists and conservationists from USSR and Eastern Europe have cooperated to start the wisent recovery programm. After decades of hard work, the goal was riched – today wisent population counts 4500 individuals, and most of them live in the wild. There are three most important places in CIS where wisent population was recovered – Belovezhski forest, Caucasus nature reserve and Priokasko-Terrasny nature reserve, where I took the pictures for this article.

This story has became a great example of how human efforts can  save a species that nearly gone extinct. I hope we all can make a right conclusions from this lesson.



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