Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 20th, 2008
The goverment of Ukraine intends to introduce a threatened species, the European bison or wisent (Bison bonasus), into the exclusion zone around the stricken Chernobyl nuclear reactor.
The plan is to create a nature reserve where the bison can thrive in the absence of humans.
The minister in charge of Chernobyl, Volodomir Shandra, says there are clean areas within the 30-kilometre radius where the pilot scheme could work.
The wisent is the heaviest surviving land animal in Europe, a relic of the Pleistocene megafauna of Eurasia. A forest dwelling species, wisent were first scientifically described by Carolus Linnaeus in 1758.
The last wild wisent in Poland was killed in 1919 and the last wild wisent in the world was killed by poachers in 1927 in the Western Caucasus. By that year fewer than 50 remained, all in zoos.
Schleich wisent replica.
Wisent were reintroduced successfully into the wild, beginning in 1951. They are found living free-ranging in forest preserves such as the Western Caucasus in Russia and the Białowieża Forest in Poland and Belarus.
Zoos in 30 countries house about 3000 wisents (as of 2000), all descended from only 12 individuals.
If the Chernobyl scheme is successful, tourists could be invited inside the exclusion zone to view these remarkable animals.
But will they glow?
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.