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170 Bison in Romanian Mountains to Help Prevent Up to 2 Million Tonnes of Carbon Emissions Annually

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Photo: 170 Bison in Romanian Mountains to Help Prevent Up to 2 Million Tonnes of Carbon Emissions Annually. Source: Freepik
Photo: 170 Bison in Romanian Mountains to Help Prevent Up to 2 Million Tonnes of Carbon Emissions Annually. Source: Freepik

A study by scientists has found that a herd of 170 bison reintroduced to Romania's Sharcu Mountains could help keep CO2 emissions equivalent to removing nearly 2 million cars from the road for a year, The Guardian reports.

Bison grazing recycles nutrients to fertilise the soil, disperse seeds and compact the soil to prevent the release of stored carbon dioxide. 

This shows how animals are helping to mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis.

These bison disappeared from Romania more than 200 years ago. However, Rewilding Europe and WWF Romania reintroduced the species to the southern Carpathians in 2014. Since then, more than 100 bison have found new homes in the Țarcu Mountains. Their population has now grown to more than 170 and the animals are now one of the largest free-ranging populations in Europe.  

"These creatures have evolved over millions of years alongside grassland and forest ecosystems, and their removal, especially where grasslands have been ploughed up, has released huge amounts of carbon. Restoring these ecosystems can redress the balance, and feral bison are one of the climate heroes that can help achieve this," says Professor Oswald Schmitz of the Yale School of the Environment in Connecticut, USA.

The latest study used a new model developed by scientists at the Yale School of the Environment and funded by the Global Rewilding Alliance. It calculates the additional amount of atmospheric CO 2 that wildlife species help capture and store in the soil through their interactions in ecosystems. 

It was found that a herd of European bison grazing an area of almost 50 square kilometres in the wider Shark Mountains could potentially capture an additional 2 million tonnes of carbon per year. This is almost 9.8 times more than without bison. This is equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of 1.88 million petrol cars in the United States.

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