There is growing interest in bison breeding by private owners, and in the introduction of the species to protected areas in many European countries. Maintenance of a network of bison breeders, managers, scientists and conservationists to effectively exchange and disseminate information on bison breeding and conservation seems to be essential. The activities of the center should result in lower rate of genetic variability losses in European bison population and better use of resources. Increased should be the awareness of policy and decisions makers about the importance of international cooperation for the future of the species and it can result with changes of status of the species in Europe.
- Initiation of the Gene Resource Bank
- Coordination of the ex situ program for captive part of European bison. Within this program providing information and advising about genetics using mainly the pedigree data but also information from molecular studies. Information which are available to breeder are: genetic line, inbreeding coefficient, kinship value within actual living animals and within genetic line, contribution of ancestors, all above mentioned for every individual, as well as its position within herd and within animals of the particular line. A part of the program is collection of information on the status of all animals of the species, carrying out demographical and genetical analyses, and preparation of a plan for the future management of the species.
- Coordination and advising the in situ and reintroduction projects. To gradually create self sustainable meta populations, nature areas and habitats will have to enlarge and bison areas have to be connected and linked up. It is necessary to link isolated small populations in a natural way and/or stimulate transfers of individuals from one herd to another.
- One of the most important initiative of the Bison Specialist Group - Europe was the project of establishing the meta-population of European bison in the Carpathian region. The perspectives of European bison in free ranging herds are difficult. Only few lowland forests are suitable for free-ranging bison, but in most cases their area is insufficient to support big enough population. An exception is the Bialowieza Primeval Forest, with almost 1000 (EBPB, 2012) of animals in two, separated by border, parts. The majority of large mountain ranges in Europe is usually unsuitable for the bison or is intensively used by people. The Carpathians however, stretching over the area of almost 210 000 sq. km, along 6 countries (Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic remain undevelopped, with a fairly well maintained native deciduous and mixed forest. About 16% of the area of the Carpathians is protected as national, nature or landscape parks, excluded from economic activities and therefore suitable as refuges for wildlife. In the Carpathians, European bison have been already introduced during the 60's and 70's in two sites in Poland and three in Ukraine. The project was based on two free living populations, one in Polish Bieszczady Mountains and the other in the "Zubrovica" Reserve in Ukrainian Bukovina region. Both populations were initially not very numerous (about 190 and 150 animals) and their genetic composition was strongly skewed towards over represenation of two founders only. The main efforts were directed towards supplementation of those herds with animals from breeding centers of Western Europe bearing genes of under-representated founders.
- Providing website presenting information about current bison number, about breeding centers, reintroduction projects and facilitating communication between breeders, experts and others. Providing information about the species, its biology, ecology, veterinary treatment, possible impact on the environment, and other data about species distribution, population size.
- Providing expertise for actual breeders and possible breeders - advising on technical aspects of European bison breeding, including: enclosure area, facilities, vegetation, animals group size and composition; scope of veterinary care; means and conditions of transport. For this task center will hire specialist from different areas and countries. The range of expertise will cover different condition (captivity, semi-free and free herd), organization of breeding, veterinary treatment etc.
- Preparing educational materials for all kind of audience (brochures, books, games, etc.) about European bison conservation on the framework of nature protection.
- Organizing meetings and technical conferences about European bison and its conservation.
- Working out the procedures of breeder certification.