From 8 – 10 December 2008, the first (preparatory) meeting of (potential) board members of the European Bison Conservation Centre (EBCC) took place in Warsaw at the University of Life Sciences, hosted by Dr. Wanda Olech.

Over 20 bison experts and bison breeders from 8 countries attended this meeting to discuss the organization, official / legal status and work of the EBCC.

This meeting , after 3 years of preparation, discussion and the finding of partners, was a further step in the development of an International European Agency to advise and coordinate all European bison conservation issues in the near future. The EBCC would work in line with the IUCN/ Council of Europe ‘Species Action Plan for European Bison’ (SAP) and could serve as an implementing agency for this.

In the meeting and in the following field excursion in Borecka forest / bison reserve, agreement and decisions were made on legal status, tasks and organization of EBCC offices (central/ regional), tasks of the board and funding/ fundraising.

A small task force ( with Wanda Olech and Kajetan Perzanowski in the lead) will work out the agreements further, to start with the establishment of a legal entity for the EBCC (including statutes etc.) and the organization of the central office in Warsaw.

LHF has been involved and supported the concept of EBCC right from the start. Together with, a.o. Artis ZOO Amsterdam, LHF has also financially supported the developments to organize a European Agency for European bison.

LHF will continue its support and will also have a seat on the EBCC board. During this development process of EBCC, LHF will continue its coordination work on restitution and reintroduction of bison in Europe, until EBCC can take over responsibility and coordination.

Fred Baerselman