Ticket price in 2018 ?? 250 rub. per person.
In summer you can admire bison without going to the territory of their habitat ?? around eight in the evening, a herd of bison descends on a watering place to a stream, from where they can be clearly seen from behind the fence. In winter, bison come to the fence, where they can be fed through the trellis or even stroke a cool head. In memory of the nursery, you can buy a cute magnet with the image of a bison. In 2017, there was a replenishment in the nursery, bison walking around the territory. To date, there are 51 of them.
Until 2000, in Russia, purebred bison of two subspecies were considered: Belovezhskaya and Belovezha-Caucasian. This bison without admixture of blood of American bison or cattle. In addition to purebred bison, in Russia there are bison hybrids with bison ?? in the Caucasus Reserve. Do these hybrids have 6% blood of the American bison, and since 2000, have these animals received the status of the third subspecies of bison ?? mountain bison.
Purebred bialowieza bison (Bison bonasus L) (11 specimens ?? 3 males and 8 females) were brought for acclimatization from the Prioksko-Terrasny reserve near Moscow to Cherginsky nursery in 1982. This is the only bison nursery beyond the Urals that contains purebred bialowieza bison, a valuable insurance fund of ancient animals. Supervises the nursery Altai Experimental economy based on the Novosibirsk Institute of Cytology and Genetics SORAN. In the 1980s, other rare birds and animals acclimatized here: Sakhalin river otters and baykaki marmots from the southern Russian steppes. Herds of valuable breeds of gray Ukrainian cattle grazed a little further on the bison. Acclimatization of bison was very successful, brought bison reproduce well? now in the nursery there are about 44-49 animals, and this is the maximum number of individuals that can comfortably exist on 470 hectares of bison nursery. Gorny Altai was chosen by chance: there is a good forage base, 243 species of higher plants grow. True, there are problems with financing, and for a bison it is important not only to provide animals with food in winter, but also to be able to import the Bialowieza bison from time to time (the so-called “fresh blood”) so that bison in the herd will not degenerate and become smaller. There are only three reserves in Russia, where you can get acquainted with purebred bialowieza bison in a semi-free environment ?? This is a nursery in Cherga, Oksky Reserve and Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve near Moscow.
Bison can be called “ancient giants”: they are classified as the largest land mammals in Europe, preserved from the late Pleistocene, when mammoths still lived on Earth. Is it easy to believe, looking closer at the bison ?? it’s just some kind of walking mountain weighing about 700-1500 kg, thickly covered with brown wool, with a massive head and a characteristic “beard”, a huge hump and thick sharp horns. Bison body length reaches 3.5 m, height ?? 2 m. 70-10 thousand years ago mammoths, woolly rhinos, cave bears and lions, bison coexisted together, one of the most famous images of bison ?? rock (15 thousand years ago), in the cave of Altamira in France. It is believed that bison and their relatives are bison ?? The last representatives of the species of wild bulls on the planet.
Bison and their habits
Bison ?? forest dwellers, their diet, in addition to large amounts of grass, includes bark of shrubs and trees (aspen, willow, mountain ash, Caraganas, etc.)
Interestingly, bison graze in separate groups of 10-20 animals ?? a group of females with calves, a group of young males and old bison and bison, who prefer to graze alone. The situation changes at the time of the rut in August-September. At this time, adult males (older than 5-6 years) find out the relationship between themselves: sniff, take threatening poses, dig the ground with their hooves, shake their heads, sometimes fight. The bison that has collected the “most points” is introduced into the herd of females, expels young males from there and starts taking care of the females in turn. In the “harem” a bison can have up to six cows. Pregnancy bison lasts a little less than 9 months. Females become sexually mature at the age of 2 years, however, the offspring are more often given in the third or fourth year of life. The female bison gives birth to a cub every year. The born calf weighs 24-26 kg, immediately rises to its feet and goes after the mother. At the age of two weeks, a calf can already eat grass. Bison feeds calves for quite a long time, sometimes up to one and a half years. According to the nursery workers, in the bison nurseries of the Bialowieza Forest and in the Caucasus, there is currently a problem of bison fertility: due to the closely related crossing, many animals are sterile (they cannot have offspring). In the Altai Mountains so far with the reproduction of animals all is well.
In Chergin bison, the whole territory is divided into three pens, surrounded by a high wire mesh. Bison costs nothing to break through the net and go free, it happened, but then they returned to the territory where they were fed by people. In the wild, bison are shy and try to hide if they come close to them, but in the bison they are not afraid of people. In winter, they are more loyal than in summer: they try to keep closer to the people who provide them with winter food (hay). Unlike cows, bison make almost no sounds ?? only quietly grunt, purr, snort. Bison have poor eyesight, they rely more on sense of smell and hearing, they react to movement. Speed at a gallop, despite the large body weight, even over rough terrain, develop quite decent ?? 40-45 km / h. In the 80s, when I was a student at the Faculty of Biology, I had a chance to do an internship at Cherginsky bison. In the early days, I was very cautious, making my way to the bison’s bedding places along the fence, then grew bolder and began to appear in open spaces. One fine day the bison noticed me and the whole flock rushed towards me at the speed of a good horse. I do not know what were their intentions ?? either they wanted to get to know each other closer, or they didn’t like my bright swimsuit, but you can’t call sensations similar to the fact that the locomotive rushes at you. They say that after seeing a stranger, bison gallop in his direction at a gallop and stop like a dead man a few meters before him. I did not check this hypothesis, I was saved on the nearest birches. Bison get to know the nursery staff well and let them close. These bulls rarely attack people, but in other kennels they are known to have attacked horses, elks, deer, as well as cars.
Once bison inhabited almost all of Western Europe, the Caucasus, met in England and Scandinavian countries, Mongolia, the Baikal region. Bison, like their relative American bison, evolved from one ancestor ?? the wild bull, who first lived in India, then spread to the north and came to America across the existing isthmus between Eurasia and Alaska. Bison are mentioned in numerous legends, including the Song of the Nibelungen, the beast and the Slavs are revered. In the Middle Ages, hunting bison was considered a very dangerous thing, only a rare brave man could venture on it. For the American Indians, the buffalo were the fodder base, and their skins were the building material, clothing.
The situation changed with the advent of firearms, as well as with intensive farming and the emergence of industry, when forests were cut down and burned. Bison had to retreat to the most secluded, mountainous and marshy parts. In England, bison disappeared in the 12th century, in Romania and Hungary ?? by 1729. Interestingly, the tsarist dynasty of Russia contributed to the preservation of bison in Belovezhskaya Pushcha and in the Caucasus (it was forbidden to hunt them all except the tsar), only there were free animals and survived until the revolution. After the fall of the Romanovs, the last free bison was killed in 1921 in the Belovezhskaya Forest in Belarus. At this point in the world there were only 56 individuals kept in captivity, and in 1927 the number decreased to 48 bison.
With special cynicism of bison relatives ?? bison ?? destroyed in America in less than one century (from about 1830 to the beginning of the twentieth century, the 75-million population of these animals was destroyed), mainly because of the fashion for the products from the skins of these animals. When laying the railroad, they fed the buffalo meat to the workers. Then, when herds of wild bulls began to interfere with rail transportation, did the passengers have a new entertainment ?? shooting bison from the windows of cars (probably, in modern times, hunting from helicopters would have become popular).
The bison population began to recover since 1923. Thus, only thanks to the efforts of scientists was it possible to restore the appearance in protected reserves and nurseries. In Russia, there are about 350 bison, in the world ?? about 2500-3000. Until now, this view is on the verge of extinction, is listed in the Red Book.
Scientists have long been trying to cross bison with pets. Attracts a simple idea ?? get bison hybrids with bison, which would be large (that is, would give a lot of meat) and unpretentious to weather conditions that are resistant to infections. In 1948, the first “cow-chump” was obtained. Similar experiments in Altai on crossing bison with a large local meat breed of cows were not crowned with success. Males of bison refused to interbreed with cows, and during artificial insemination, nonviable offspring was born.
Bison Nursery, Zubyatnik: Active tours with a visit to the facility:
Aktru Valley (5 days, 19900 r., 4-16 people)
Strength and health of Gorny Altai (10 days, 45940/55690 r., 6-14 people)