or bison-wisent, the interspecies hybrid of a wisent and a bison. A first generation wisent-bison has the traits of both a wisent and a bison (intermediate inheritance of traits of the parent forms) but is usually larger and more massive. It is distinguished from the wisent by its large head, hind leg structure (“saberlike”), and thick, long hair on the head and front part of the body.
Wisent-bisons were first bred in Russia (in Askaniia-Nova) in 1907 from a male wisent and female bison. Later the opposite hybrid was successfully developed. Wisent-bisons mate successfully among themselves, with wisents, or with bisons. In 1940 a group of wisent-bisons, one male and four females, was transported from Askaniia-Nova to the Caucasian Preserve, where they were well acclimatized. Their descendants number more than 600 head (1970) and live freely in lands occupied earlier by the annihilated (1927) Caucasian wisent. In addition to this herd in the Caucasian Preserve, a small herd of wisent-bisons (60 head) lives in freedom in the Nal’chik Forestry and Hunting Area (Kabarda-Balkaria). There are no wisent-bisons in other areas of the USSR (including Askaniia-Nova), in Europe, or in America.
M. A. ZABLOTSKII