The Caucasian Wisent (Bison bonasus caucasicus) is a subspecies of the European Bison that lived in the Caucasus Mountains. Before its extinction, the last male Caucasian Wisent bred with cows from the lowland species of the European Bison (Bison bonasus bonasus).
In the 1940s and in 1959, a group of Caucasian Wisent and American Bison (Bison bison) hybrids were released into the Caucasian region, which bred with the Caucasian lowland hybrid species to form a single group. In 2000, zoologists categorized them as a new mountain species, called Bison bonasus montanus. However, the new category has not been confirmed.
The hybrid Caucasian Wisent is an ungulate mammal of the bovine family. It is an artiodactyl, because it is cloven hooved.
The hybrid Caucasian Wisent is broad and muscular, with a brown coat of fur, and a massive head with horns.
It grows to 200-350 centimetres (78-138 inches) tall.
It is a nomadic ruminant grazer, eating grass.
The hybrid Caucasian Wisent lives only in the Caucasian Biosphere Reserve, where it is protected as an endangered species. The population of about 500 individuals is slowly increasing. It lives in herds and likes open plains and grasslands.
The female Caucasian Wisent, called a cow, is pregnant for 264 days, before giving birth to one young, called a calf.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM