Woburn Animal Series - 12) Bison
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This series of caches have been set as a dedication to the nearby Woburn Safari Park. The series consists of 15 caches on an approximately 3 1/2 mile circular walk. The terrain can be muddy, especially after rain, although a good pair of walking boots should not prevent you from completing the series. The caches range from a nano to an ammo can and all sizes in between.
We have tried to make these caches interesting for children. You may want to print out each cache page and read them out as you walk round!
There is no ivy although there might be prickles!
Woburn Safari Park is part of the Woburn Estate, which has belonged to the Dukes of Bedford for over 450 years. The Safari Park was created by the 13th Duke of Bedford in 1970 and covers 300 acres.
Being a Safari Park, visitors can drive round, allowing them to be just inches from rhinos, tigers and lions (not to mention monkeys!)
The Safari Park is also the home of some very rare species and is well known for it's breeding programmes. In 1985, the Duke sent 50 Pere David deer, descended from animals originally brought to the Park by the 11th Duke, to be introduced to the Imperial Park in Beijing. During the Boxer Rebellion all the Pere David Deer were killed. The species was saved from extinction and returned to its native homeland after it had been extinct in the wild for over 100 years.
In 1901, the 11th Duke also introduced the Przewalski Horse, which actually saved it from extinction. In 2007, two foals were born. Amongst others born in 2007 were endangered bongo antelopes, baby squirrel monkeys, 2 rare Rothschild giraffes and a Yellow Asian pond turtle, hatchling which is the first time this critically endangered turtle has bred in Europe.
As you are going around these caches, you are likely to bump into some Muntjac Deer. These deer are not indigenous to the UK, being from South East Asia and India. They escaped from the Woburn Estate not long after introduction. Originally, they only lived within a 20 mile radius of Woburn, however, today they appear all along the M4 corridor and have been seen as far away as Wales. These are very small deer, often less than 2 foot tall, and are frightened very easily. Unless the wind is strong, they will pick up your scent often before you spot them. They can often be mistaken for dogs or even hares (and do the same sort of damage as hares and rabbits). They are particularly prevalent around the beginning of the year and throughout spring.
"The Bison" is a 35mm film cannister.
The bison is commonly referred to as "buffalo"; however, this is a misnomer: though both bison and buffalo belong to the Bovidae family.
The American and European bison are the largest terrestrial mammals in North America and Europe. Bison live to be about 20 years old and are born without their trademark "hump" or horns. With the development of their horns, they become mature at two to three years of age, although the males continue to grow slowly to about age seven.
The Wisent or European Bison is a bison species and the heaviest land animal in Europe. A typical wisent is about 2.9 m (9.5 ft) long and 1.8–2.2 m (5.9–7.4 ft) tall, and weighs 300–920 kg (660–2000 lb). The wisent is the largest wild animal in Belarus, and it is a national symbol of Belarus today.
About 2000 years ago wisents lived in most of Europe - from Britain in the west to Siberia in the east, from Spain in the south to Sweden in the north. Wisents lived not only in the forests but also roamed the grasslands of Europe. The wisent was hunted almost to the point of extinction, and became extinct in the wild in 1927. However, from the less than 50 remaining in zoos in 1927, it was possible, by 1951, to reintroduce them into the wild, though in 1996, the wisent was classified as an endangered species.
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