24. The Bison Forest
In Svinemosen, you will find European bison, also known as wisents. The animals are fenced in but roam an area of about 200 hectares.
The bison herd of six cows and one bull arrived at Almindingen from Poland in June 2012. Already the year after, the first calf was born and, since then, the herd has grown by the year. The bison fill a nature vacancy, as Bornholm is not home to any large animals, such as red deer, wild boars or beavers which, through their behaviour, create open areas in the forest.
The influence of the large animals on the forest maintains a forest with different trees, varying in age and size, and contributes to the creation of natural habitats that have virtually disappeared from Danish forests. Natural habitats that are the home to a significant number of both herbs and species of insects that would otherwise not survive.
Bornholm was chosen to be the home of the animals as part of a conservation project for the European bison. After World War I, this species was virtually eradicated and there were no wild bison left in Europe. However, 54 animals were living in captivity. These 54 animals have today grown to more than 4,000, including the ones living here in Bornholm.
Bison are usually not dangerous; however, it is recommended to keep a distance of at least 100 metres to avoid dangerous situations. It should be noted that female bison with new-born calves are significantly more aggressive than usual.
Visitors are requested to stay on the paved and gravelled paths and the marked routes. Dogs may be walked but must, naturally, be kept on their leash.
It is possible to visit the bison forest by car as cattle grids are installed at both ends of Chr. X's Vej.
In the bison enclosure, you also find Svinemosen, which is a nice bird sanctuary with, amongst others, breeding cranes. You will find a bird-watching tower just where the road reaches the bog. In 2013, the road was named Prinsgemalens Vej (“The Prince Consort’s Road”) and two benches were set up with a view of the bog. They are called Prinsgemalens Bænke (“The benches of the Prince Consort”). For the past 40 years, Prince Henrik has visited Bornholm for the spring buck hunt, and he is particularly fond of Svinemosen.