One of the tasks of bison restitution in Poland and Europe is to create semi-natural breeding pens, where bison would be able to breed within a restricted area and create a number of separate herds [1]. It is not a new form of bison breeding, since several such pens have been created during the post-war period in Poland. The largest pen that bison currently live in is in Pszczyna, and has been there since 1865 [2]. Despite the long-established breeding tradition in that part of Europe, as well as the need and readiness to build more pens, there is a growing need for test results indicating the development direction of the breeding pens, requirements set for breeders, as well as conditions that must be met for the animals to feel comfortable and develop properly. These are only some of the questions waiting to be answered – in fact, there are more of them, and they are much more detailed. The breeding pen in Sycowice attempts to provide at least partial answers – its main purpose is to conduct research on the relationship between bison and their environment. This project is being implemented by the Institute for Applied Ecology in Skórzyn and the Association of Bison Lovers. These animals’ lives, general welfare, condition and offspring rearing ability are dependent on the conditions of their habitat, ecosystem productivity being one of the most important ones, being responsible for free access to an unlimited natural food supply throughout an entire year. Annual results of tests conducted in Sycowice show that providing the animals with such conditions let them acclimatize to the new conditions very quickly and reach a very high level of physical development, without causing much damage within their habitat.

Key words:

European bison; environment; feeding requirements; breeding enclosure; Sycowice