Zubron Bisons
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About Zubron BisonsAbout Zubron Bisons



Zubronrnis a hybrid of domestic cattle and wisent. The wisent is the European bison;rnhence, the zubron is analogous to the American beefalo. The name zubron wasrnofficially chosen from hundreds of proposals sent to the Polish weekly magazinernPrzekroj during a contest organized in 1969.

Zubronrnwere first developed by Leopold Walicki in 1847, although the hybrid may alsornhave appeared at an earlier time. After World War I, various scientistsrnconsidered Zubron a possible replacement for domestic cattle. Zubron turned outrnto be more durable and less susceptible to disease. In addition, they could bernbred on marginal grazing land with no farm infrastructure and with minimalrnhusbandry in huge state agricultural farms (SAFs). Up to 1958, the work onrnzubron herds was continued by the Polish Academy of Sciences in variousrnlaboratories, mainly in Bialowieza and Mlodzikowo. During the first 16 years ofrnexperiments, a total of 71 animals were born, including Filon, the first zubronrnborn to a zubron mother (August 6, 1960). The animal was intended to become arnhardy and cheap alternative to cattle.

The experiment was continued until the late 1980s, when the results ofrnthe breeding programs were deemed unsatisfactory. Various factors contributedrnto this decision, including the severe economic difficulties of the Polishrnsocialist economy in the 1980s, a lack of interest from the notoriously ineffectivernSAFs, and fears that zubron would crossbreed with the endangered wild wisent contaminating their gene pool. The two notable centers for experiments on thernspecies were Lekno (391 animals) and Popielno (121 animals), while limitedrnexperiments were also held in the reserve of Askania Nova in the USSR. This wasrndiscontinued, and the sole surviving herd consists of several animals only kept at Bialowieski National Park.

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