November 8, 2015
2016 FRANCE (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) - Wisents in Safari de Peaugres
The wisent, also known as European bison (Bison bonasus), is one of two extant species of bison, alongside the American bison. They were hunted to extinction in the wild in southern Sweden in the 11th century, in Southern England in the 12th century, in the Ardennes and the Vosges Mountains in the 15th century, in Transylvania in 1790, in the Białowieża Forest (on the Poland-Belarus border) in 1921, and in the northwestern Caucasus in 1927. In 1927 less than 50 wisent were left in the world, all in zoos.
Beginning in 1951, wisent have been reintroduced into the wild. Free-ranging herds are currently found in Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Russia, Slovakia, Latvia, Spain, Denmark, Kyrgyzstan, Germany and in the Western Caucasus. The total worldwide population is around 4,663 (including 2,701 free-ranging) and has been increasing. In France, they live in semi-liberty in Massif Central, near the village of Thorenc and in Lozère, and in some zoological park, as Safari de Peaugres.
It is not to be confused with the aurochs, the extinct ancestor of domestic cattle. There have been three subspecies in the past, but only one survived until today, even if is managed as two separate lines - one consisting of only Bison bonasus bonasus (all descended from only seven animals) and one consisting of all 12 ancestors, including the one Bison bonasus caucasicus bull. Because of this limited genetic pool, they are considered highly vulnerable to illnesses.
About the stamps
The first stamp, designed by Alex Jordan, was issued in May 22, 1995, to mark the anniversary of the 50 years since the foundation of French Popular Relief.
The second stamp, depicting a painting by Albert Gleizes, was issued on October 2, 1993, to honore the National Centre for Circus Arts, Chalons sur Marne.
The last stamps, designed by Huguette Sainson, was issued on June 3, 1995, to mark the 68th Congress of the French Federation of Philatelic Associations, which took place in Orleans.
European bison - Wikipedia
Sent from Saint-Vincent-de-Barrès (Rhône-Alpes / France), on 31.10.2015