Dream Fund Project Praised By Leonardo DiCaprio
Recently Leonardo DiCaprio praised The Wilder Blean Project on his social media after hearing about the Dream Fund project funded by People's Postcode Lottery players. The project was awarded £1.125 Million by the Postcode Innovation Trust.
The bison's national fame has now gone global, thanks to the endorsement from the actor.
The Hollywood star and environmental activist has praised a project led by Kent Wildlife Trust and Wildwood Trust to introduce European bison into West Blean and Thornden Woods to act as "natural engineers".
The star of films including Titanic, The Departed and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, posted on Facebook about the scheme and said that the project would "bring the opportunity for new life".
Kent Wildlife Trust reports that the bison are already reshaping the landscape, creating light and space for wildlife to thrive.
"We have seen them create a network of paths opening up trails of up to a metre wide," said bison ranger Donovan Wright.
"Through dense silver birch thickets that were once almost impenetrable, you can now comfortably walk along bison trails.
"And we are not the only ones using them, I have seen foxes, rabbits, and a slow worm sunbathing on one."
The animals are known as 'eco-system engineers', creating muddy ponds, pushing down trees and disturbing the soil to help plants and other animals thrive.
The bison have healthy appetites, eating up to 35kg (77lbs) of vegetation a day. This results in a lot of droppings - which help to fertilise the earth and disperse seeds.
"The birds have figured out that bison droppings attract invertebrates. They have been pecking at the bison dung, feasting off insects." said Wright.
Wright added that, as the bison have settled into their new environment, they have become more intrepid, and their distinctive personalities and tastes have started to emerge.
"The matriarch likes the bracken and can often be seen trampling and even lying down on it." he said.
"To grow, berries need light, and the bison are beginning to create more light in the woodland already through their natural behaviours, so in a way they are making their own dessert!"
A Bright Future
Within the next eight weeks a bull from Germany will be released into the herd and it is hoped with time that they will breed.
Once the herd are settled, they be joined by other grazing animals including Exmoor ponies, Iron Age pigs and Longhorn cattle, who will also create a variety of natural habitats.
"I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the bison and the privilege of spending time with them." said Wright.
"The bison have already had a remarkable impact. I did not expect it to be so sudden, but literally from the first day you could sense their presence in the woods."
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Wilder Blean Bisons Arrive 18 July 2022