a typical European bison is about 2.1 to 3.5 m (7 to 10 ft) long, not counting a tail of 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 in) long, and 1.6 to 2 m (5 to 7 ft) tall.
Weight typically can range from 300 to 920 kg (660 to 2,000 lb), with an occasional big bull to 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) or more.
On average, it is slightly lighter in body mass and yet taller at the shoulder than the American bison (Bison bison).
Compared to the American species, the Wisent has shorter hair on the neck, head and forequarters, but longer tail and horns.
European bison were hunted to extinction in the wild, with the last wild animals being shot in the Białowieża Forest in Eastern Poland in 1919 and in the Western Caucasus in 1927, but have since been reintroduced from captivity into several countries in Europe, all descendants of the Białowieża or lowland European bison.
They are now forest-dwelling. They have few predators (besides humans), with only scattered reports from the 19th century of wolf and bear predation.
European bison were first scientifically described by Carolus Linnaeus in 1758.
Some later descriptions treat the European bison as conspecific with the American bison.
It is not to be confused with the aurochs, the extinct ancestor of domestic cattle.
In 1996 the IUCN classified the European bison as an endangered species.
It has since been downgraded to a vulnerable species.
In the past it was commonly killed to produce hides and drinking horns, especially during the Middle Ages.