Progress of the restitution of the bison (Bison bonasus L.) in Poland
The history of the European bison gives us a most striking example how some species of animals disappear gradually while being deprived of their natural surroundings. In Western Europe, where the increase of population and development of rural settlements showed a quicker progress than in the East of the continent, the bisons were regarded as Royal game already since the VII-th or VIII-th century and attemps have been made to protect them more or less. Nevertheless the area of the distribution of the bison shrank rapidly and at the beginning of the XIX-th century was restricted only to the Białowieza Forest. It should be added, however, that over 50 years ago the occurence of the bisons was discovered also at another place namely on the North-Western slopes of the Caucasus. These Caucasian bisons were, however, completely exterminated recently and the species exists there no more since about 8 years. That part of Poland in which the Białowieza Forest is situated belonged at the beginning of the XIX-th century to the territory of the Russian Empire. The Tzar of Russia issued in 1803 a Decree according to which a special imperial license had to be obtained in every particular case for shooting or capturing a bison at the Białowieza Forest. The decree established also a careful protection of the bisons.
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Żabiński, Jan. (1939). Progress of the restitution of the bison (Bison bonasus L.) in Poland. Bijdragen tot de dierkunde, 27(1), 547–549.