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The origins of the Sycowice`s bisons

In the sixteenth century on almost the whole area of the Commonwealth of Two Nations, bison appeared in many virgin forests. This region represents   one of the last places of their natural range in Europe, with the exception of bisons living in the Caucasus Mountains. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, living representatives of the species were known only from the virgin forest. The transition to the next century for the existing population was successful. The animals were kept mainly for the purpose of the hunting needs of the King. In the early twentieth century population of Belavezha `s herds had about 700 units, which represents  a high population density in relation to the size of the forest. .  The nineteenth and twentieth century’s witnessed the commencement of the second breeding sublines: Pszczyna`s line, which was the origin of the bisons imported into Sycowice.
Bison`s breeding in the Pszczyna`s forests (PL line) goes back to Tsar Alexander II. In 1865 Prince of Pszczyna – Hans Heinrich XI Hochberg exchanged 20 deers caught in the Pszczyna`s woods for four Belavezha`s bisons with the Russian tsar. Under the care princes of Pszczyna  comes the descendants of the bison  that existed  until 1936. It should be emphasized that the Pszczyna`s breeding originated from the 12 founders of the origin of Białowieża.
The herd consists of:

• Four of these bison, were brought  from Bialowieża in 1865
• The next five also came  from Białowieża,  in 1893
• Two males later came  from  Berlin zoo and another came  from  Dresden in 1909

PL line grew rapidly and by 1918 the population was estimated to 74 pieces. During this period, there was a sharp decline in the population of the free-living bisons in Bialowieża`s forest. This was due to the poaching and military actions.  The last bison in  Bialowieża`s forest died in 1919. The  Pszczyna`s herd also shared similar fate, with the exception that three pieces survived World War I, but only two of them were able to produce offspring. Pszczyna`s herd  grew, despite  the  war .In 1954 the number  of the bison   changed  due to the outbreak of   “Foot and Mouth Disease” which led  to the  death of the 19 remaining bison. In the mid,-sixties, an initiative to rebuild Pszczyna’s line was established to maintain continuity of the herd. This was possible because of the existence of other European herds which has its origin from Pszczyna. This initiative still exists till now and has preserved many of the species. Part of this preserved species of bisons came to Sycowice in May 2012, three females: Pladora, Platynka and Plątka, and one male: Plarip.
They are the basis for the development of a new herd which is -the first in centuries in this part of Poland.. One can therefore appreciate the efforts of the Institute of Applied Ecology in Skórzyn for bison to have appeared again in Ziemia Lubuska.