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Topszewski, Michael, 2023. Feasibility of reintroduction of European Bison (Bison bonasus) to Sweden with focus on traffic accidents. Second cycle, A2E. Alnarp: SLU, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre



The historical occurrence of European bison (Bison bonasus) in Sweden during the early Holocene
emphasizes the ecological significance for a potential reintroduction. The European bison, the
largest herbivore on the European continent, is a keystone species with a significant influence on
ecosystem dynamics. To restore populations of European bison is an important conservation concern
Road collisions with wild animals are a significant problem on a global scale and an important aspect
to consider when large terrestrial mammal populations are restored. This study aims to assess the
relative involvement in traffic incidences of European bison and moose (Alces alces) in Poland,
where both species occur in the wild. Accidents involving European bison were analyzed and
compared with those involving moose during 2014-2022. Four regions were defined and analyzed:
Lublin and Subcarpathian provinces; Podlaskie province; Warmian-Masurian province; and
Northwest region comprising Lubuskie, Wielkopolskie, and Zachodnipomorskie provinces. The
results revealed substantial variations in accident ratios between European bison and moose in
different regions. In the Lublin and Subcarpathian regions a significant difference was observed (p
= 0.02). The Podlaskie region demonstrated the most pronounced disparity (p < 0.001). In the
Warmian-Masurian region, significant differences were again observed (p = 0.003). Conversely, in
the Northwest region, no significant difference was found. Overall, the combined analysis across all
regions also indicated a highly significant difference (p < 0.001). The overall average accident rate
per 100 European bison was 0.49, while for moose it was 1.03. This suggests that moose had a 2.12
times higher accident rate compared to European bison. Additionally, European bison traffic
collisions generally result in less severe outcomes compared to moose and other animals, typically
causing no fatalities or only minor injuries to drivers and passengers. Considering the relatively low
frequency and severity of the traffic collisions, European bison reintroduction efforts may face fewer
traffic-related challenges than moose. European bison have demonstrated adaptability across varied
landscapes including open areas, forests, and their transitional zones, all of which can be found in
southern Sweden. As a generalist grazing species, the dietary requirements of European bison align
with available food resources. Climate compatibility is affirmed, as historical and current
distribution ranges of European bison encompass regions with more severe climates than southern
Sweden. Along with the relatively low risk for traffic incidents as observed in this study, this
underline the potential success of reintroducing European bison to the region. Nevertheless, it is
important to effectively manage potential conflicts between humans and wildlife. It is advisable to
engage in subsequent monitoring and research to gain a better understanding of these challenges
during the implementation of reintroduction efforts in a new area.

Main title:Feasibility of reintroduction of European Bison (Bison bonasus) to Sweden with focus on traffic accidents
Authors:Topszewski, Michael
Supervisor:Niklasson, Mats and Thulin, Carl-Gustaf
Examiner:Drobyshev, Igor
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2023
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:Other
Supervising department:(S) > Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Keywords:wildlife-vehicle collision, risk prediction, reintroduction feasibility, european bison, Bison bonasus, moose, Alces alces, Human-wildlife conflict
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Deposited On:06 Oct 2023 08:23
Metadata Last Modified:07 Oct 2023 01:01

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