What is Europe’s largest land mammal?
Did you know Europe’s largest land mammal weighs a whopping 1,000kg
Europe’s largest land mammal is the European bison, also known as the wisent. They are mammalian heavyweights: the adults are the continent’s largest herbivores and can weigh as much as 1,000kg.
The species became extinct in the wild in the 1920s, but 54 animals surviving in zoos enabled reintroduction to several countries. There are now 2–3,000 wild bison in Europe, about half of which occur in Poland and Belarus, though their genetic diversity is limited.
The bison is also the largest land animal in North America, divided into two subspecies – the wood (or mountain) and the plains bisons. These bovids narrowly escaped extinction in the 19th century, when tens of millions were slaughtered by settlers. Today, the total population of wild adults numbers between 11,248 and 13,123 (according to the IUCN), with more in managed conservation herds.
While the European bison matches the wood bison for maximum weight (approximately 1,000kg), the American animals are hairier and marginally longer, reaching up to 380cm (to the European 350cm).
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