Leading Kent Wildlife Park Welcomes Two New Bison Bulls

New arrivals bring joy to Wildwood Trust after the sad passing of two popular resident bulls who were “ambassadors” for the species.

Leading British wildlife conservation charity, Wildwood Trust, is celebrating the arrival of two young bison bulls at its Kent park. The bison, who have come from Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland and are just 16 months and 19 months old, have taken up residence in the enclosure once inhabited by the previous bison bull duo – Haydes and Orsk.

The much-loved pair were familiar faces on the national and international stage having served as ambassadors for the species as part of the award-winning Blean Bison Project. The pioneering initiative, in partnership with Kent Wildlife Trust, uses bison to perform the role of ecosystem engineers in place of woodland management.

While the young bulls will not be released into the wild as part of the project, Wildwood’s Director of Zoological Operations, Mark Habben, hopes they’ll continue the important work of their predecssor:

“We have a long history of bison at Wildwood. Our elderly gentlemen, Haydes and Orsk, are sadly no longer with us but they were instrumental in helping educate and raise awareness about the Bison Blean project. In the early days, there was rarely a news article or broadcast about the initiative that didn’t feature their faces. We know our two new arrivals will pick up the baton where they left off and we are so excited for our loyal members and visitors to see them at the park.”

It was an early start for the team at Wildwood, near Herne Bay, following the arrival of the bison on Wednesday morning. The keepers and rangers prepared for their arrival by building a race – an enclosed corridor – for them to make their way safely from the car park and across a grass paddock to their enclosure. The expert team at Wildwood will now work to help the young bison bulls settle and adjust to their new surroundings. Keeper Donovan Wright says they’re already making themselves at home:

“These bison have really lovely temperaments. It’s been wonderful to watch them grazing and exploring their new environment. The matriarch in the Blean came from Highland Wildlife Park so I kept thinking if they were just a fraction of what she is they were going to be spectacular, And you can just see it, it’s a privilege to have them.”

Visitors can find the bison in their enclosure just opposite the custom-built bison platform. This gives a birds eye view of the Blean and a chance to spot the roaming bison, who were released into the wild in the summer of 2022 as part of the Bison Blean project. The herd number currently stands at five following the arrival of a new calf just before Christmas.

As a nature conservation charity, Wildwood relies on the generosity of its supporters to continue to protect, conserve, and rewild British wildlife. Wildwood’s bison can be adopted online or at the park. This will help support the two bison as they settle into their home. Donations can also be made towards Wildwood’s vital conservation work to help fight the biodiversity crisis.


PHOTO CREDIT: Nathan Harding-Lee