In the long-standing conflict over Germany’s only wild bison herd in South Westphalia, the number of roaming animals should be reduced. It should be reduced from the current 40 to 20 to 25 as quickly as possible, said the former ministers of North Rhine-Westphalia Ursula Heinen-Esser (CDU) and Johannes Remmel (Greens) in a press conference in Siegen on Friday.

The animals were to be captured and transported to other herds in Europe. A foundation with public participation should also continue the work of the previous sponsoring association.

Since the beginning of the year, the two politicians had moderated a round table in the heated, legal dispute between those involved. According to the Forest Farmers’ Association, the bison cause considerable damage to the forests. On the other side is the protection of species and nature. Suspecting forest owners had promised the sponsoring association claims of around 250,000 euros annually. The club then filed for bankruptcy.

Herd management should include the rapid construction of a trapping gate for the powerful animals and the bison should be given transmitters to determine their location. The round table also proposes a fund to compensate for damage to bison.

The dispute dates back to 2013, when a herd of eight was released in Wittgensteiner Land. The herd migrated, multiplied and caused damage to trees.