The extinction of the Caucasian bison to the creation of a new subspecies
Political tumult in Russia over the past century has ushered a host of ecological changes in the region, including the near-extinction of the Caucasian bison. Seventeen aminals become a founder of so-called mountainous bison, 13 of them lowland bison Bison bonasus bonasus, 3 American bison B. bison and one is the last remaining Caucasian bison in captivity. While the pure subspecies was inevitably lost in the genetic diversification, it has been reintroduced to its old habitat. Reintroduction of bison has a more than 60 years of successful history, and now it's time to reintroduce more animals. We are collaborating with German and Russian scientists who are mapping suitable habitats to identify the best places for subsequent of reintroduction.
http://www.geographie.hu-berlin.de/Members/kuemmerle_tobias), and his biogeography laboratory (http://www.geographie.hu-berlin.de/abteilungen/biogeographie). In Russia, our collaborators are Sergej Trepet and Taras Sipko. The first step of this project is to analyze bison range maps. The Caucasian bison used to have different habitats in winter and summer time because of vertical migration. Nowadays, the highland bison do the same. The analysis of winter and summer maps of bison range will help to identify drivers affecting the range. Possible drivers include anthropogenic disturbance, pasture and shelters areas available and so on. Given the result of this analysis, we will be able to determine the most suitable habitats for the bison outside of Caucasus Nature Reserve. Maps of suitable habitats will allow reintroduction of more bison to Caucasus Mountains and increase the number of wild highland bison.