Alien Organisms and trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

Import and keep of bovid species – consequences for Norwegian biodiversity


Report no:

Publishing: 17.12.2021

Key message:

VKM will assess whether the importation and keeping of American and European bison, domesticated water buffalo, and yak can have adverse consequences for Norwegian biodiversity.

The risk assessment is commissioned by the Norwegian Environment Agency.


Currently, permission from the Norwegian Environment Agency is required in Norway to introduce, release and keep American bison, European bison, domesticated water buffalo and domesticated yak. The authorities are now considering exempting these species from this requirement.

The Mandate

To assess how these bovid species should be regulated in the future, the Norwegian Environment Agency has requested VKM to conduct a scientific assessment of the risk of adverse consequences to biodiversity from importing and keeping these species. The assessment shall consider potential negative effects, on both cultivated farmland and in natural habitats, of keeping these species.

VKM will also assess risks due to diseases and parasites accompanying these animals. The assessment of diseases and parasites will not be included in the overall risk assessment, as these four species are regulated by harmonized EU regulations.

VKM will also describe possible effects that importing and keeping these animals may have on ecosystem services. However, this will not be included in the assessment of negative consequences for biodiversity.

Project group

The VKM project group consists of:

Erlend Nilsen - Member, VKM Panel on Alien Organisms and Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and Chair of the project 

Bjørnar Ytrehus - Member, VKM Panel on Microbial Ecology 

Tor Gjøen - Member, VKM Panel on Animal Health and Welfare 

Gunnar Austrheim Pdf, 57.2 kB, opens in new window. - External expert, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) 

Martin Malstrøm - Senior advisor and project manager, VKM Secretariat 

Kjersti S. Kvie - Senior advisor and project manager, VKM Secretariat 

The Panel on Alien Organisms and Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is responsible for the risk assessment, which is scheduled to be published on 17 December 2021.


Kjersti Kvie

Senior advisor, PhD

M: 930 16 649
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