Born to be wild in forests of Poland
TO Poland, with love.
Ireland's biggest wildlife park was praised yesterday for its role in helping to successfully re-introduce one of Europe's most majestic animals -- the bison -- to the vast forests of Poland. Bison had been hunted to extinction in Poland over the past 150 years.
From humble beginnings in 1983, the Cork park now ranks as one of the world's outstanding nurseries for rare species, and is on target to attract 400,000 visitors this year.
European bison have now been successfully re-introduced to the wilds of Komancza forest in eastern Poland, and four of its fledgling herd were born and raised here.
Two more females are currently being bred at Fota for future export to Poland.
Bison are not the only success story. Fota has also helped breed scimitar-horned oryx for re-introduction to parts of Tunisia's interior.
Yesterday, the park hosted the prestigious British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) AGM, and the facility was hailed for "the fantastic work" it has undertaken.
BIAZA director Miranda Stevenson said its zoos base their breeding and re-introduction programmes on hard evidence, and Fota has enjoyed outstanding success as a result.