(CNN)About 10,000 years after the Steppe Bison went extinct, UK's most important wildlife species are now also racing toward extinction.
Ancient Steppe bison once roamed the land which would later become England. Their presence significantly provided other animals and plants the healthy ecosystem they needed to thrive.
Now, the UK is looking to the Steppe bison's closest relative to bring back the area's ancient woodlands -- the European bison.
The $1.4 million "Wilder Blean" project, funded by the People's Postcode Lottery Dream fund, aims to release a small herd of European bison into the West Blean woods, near Canterbury in East Kent, during the spring of 2022.
The bison will come from the Netherlands or Poland, where previous releases have proved successful, and the initial release will include one male and three females, according to the Guardian. Natural breeding is expected to increase the size of the herd.
Describing European bison as "ecosystem engineers," the Kent Wildlife Trust, one of the conservation organizations leading the project, said the species can "change wood