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Bison and yaks soon on way to Pleistocene Park after Kickstarter campaign raises $110,000

By The Siberian Times reporter
11 April 2017

Scientists thank donors for backing unique experiment to restore woolly mammoth habitat and show how impact of climate change can be slowed.

This natural habitat was lost substantially due to ancient man's intervention. Picture: Pleistocene Park

A total of 747 people from around the world backed a fundraiser which will allow bison and yaks to be brought to Pleistocene Park in the coming months. 

The park - run by father and son Sergey and Nikita Zimov - will provide a natural habitat for woolly mammoths if, as experts now believe possible, their extinction is reversed and they are brought back to life in the coming years and decades. 

This natural habitat was lost substantially due to ancient man's intervention.

Now  pastures that once existed in the days of the mammoth are returning at this park in the north of Yakutia, the largest region in Siberia. 



These animals have shown that it is possible to transform ecosystems. Pictures: Pleistocene Park

There is a key modern reason for doing so.

By restoring this ecosystem,  harmful greenhouse gases now seeping from the thawing permafrost can be 'locked in', so saving the world from disaster if it were to be replicated on a grand scale across the Arctic.

So the $110,000 raised by crowdfunding will help bring bison and yaks that will speed up this process in the Arctic. 

They will join over 70 large herbivores in the park, including cold-adapted Yakutian horses, moose, musk ox, reindeer, and European bison. 

'These animals have shown that it is possible to transform ecosystems and reestablish high productivity grasslands by reintroducing large herbivores,' said Nikita.  

Gradually taking shape here is an Arctic Serengeti.

As a report in The Atlantic said recently: 'If Nikita has his way, Pleistocene Park will spread across Arctic Siberia and into North America, helping to slow the thawing of the Arctic permafrost.'





Gradually taking shape here is an Arctic Serengeti. Pictures: Pleistocene Park

Nikita told The Siberian Times today: 'I am very pleased with the results of the Kickstarter campaign. 

It started very slow and at first I was almost certain that we will not manage to gather the pledged amount. By the end of the campaign a lot more people heard about us and helped us gather the amount. 

'I would like to express heartfelt gratitude to everyone who supported us morally and financially. 

'It was so heart-warming to hear words of support from so many people. 



Arctic permafrost is melting. It will trigger catastrophic global warming. Pictures: Pleistocene Park

'These people were from all over the world, they don't know me and they are into their completely different businesses, yet they wanted to express their support. I will do my best to justify their trust.'

He will now collect yaks from Irokutsk region, and bison from Altai, both thousands of kilometres away, and embark on an odyssey to bring them to the Arctic. 

He revealed a secret: he had not told his father about the Kickstarter campaign, fearing it would not gather the targeted funds. 

'My father didn't know about the campaign. He didn't have much faith in crowdfunding in the past, so when I thought about asking people for help I decided to only let him know if the campaign was a success. He was very pleased indeed.' 




Today, is a vital tool to mitigate global climate change. Pictures: Pleistocene Park

Summing up the park, he said: 'Arctic permafrost is melting. It will trigger catastrophic global warming. We~re creating a northern Serengeti to stop that from happening.

'Pleistocene Park is a proof of concept, a public demonstration, a landscape scale art project and a philosophy of rational co-existence between humans and nature.

'Here in the most remote corner of Siberia my father, Sergey Zimov, and I are reviving the ice age Mammoth Steppe ecosystem.

Re-wilding this vast area of the Arctic will not only create a northern Serengeti, but most importantly, today, is a vital tool to mitigate global climate change. 

'As climate warms, permafrost here in the Arctic is starting to melt. 

'It will soon unlock huge carbon stocks and trigger a catastrophic global warming feedback loop. Natural grasslands, maintained by numerous grazing animals, have the capacity to both slow climate warming and prevent permafrost from melting.'

Comments (1)

Congratulations and I look forward to hopefully visiting your wonderful Park. I have no doubt that your father understands that the secret kept in your heart was of genuinely good intentions...:-).
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
13/04/2017 02:56
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