At first glance, Europe’s largest mammal, the bison, can seem like an intimidating creature. But bison researcher Rafal Kowalczyk says there is no reason to be afraid. He's discovered another side to the wild beasts.

Known as the "wisent whisperer," Rafal Kowalczyk has dedicated his life to researching one of the biggest wild bison herds in the world. He tells Global Ideas why the European bison are an integral part of the forest that surrounds them and why they play a critical role in preserving the lush environment.

An audio slideshow by Marta Grudzinska

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