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German prince bringing bison back

Dec. 24, 2012 at 3:43 PM

BAD BERLEBURG, Germany, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- A forest-owning German prince said he is bringing European bison to live in the wilds of Germany for the first time since the 18th century.

Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, 78, said a heard of eight European bison, known as wisent, are being introduced to his 32,124-acre forest surrounding the town of Bad Berleburg after the state Environment Ministry in Dusseldorf issued its approval for the animals to be released from the acclimation enclosure they have occupied since 2010, Der Spiegel reported Monday.

The prince said the bison will be the first of their species to occupy the wild in Germany since 1746. He said the scheme is nearly a decade in the making.

Johannes Rohl, 54, manager of the prince's forest, said the herd will initially be limited to 25 head.

He said the herd is unlikely to be dangerous to humans.

"You have to have respect for the animals, of course," Rohl said. "If the wisent wants to kill you, he can do it."

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