Saturday, 29 November 2014

European Bison Reserve in Białowieża

Last time I have promised to show you the most special thing about Białowieża. I am sure that you have already guessed what I mean. Białowieża Forest is the house of the 10% of the total population of European Wood Bisons. In the national Park they run freely and it is not so easy to meet them. You could still try by following this camera view. To make it easier for tourists, a few bisons are kept in a special Reserve. I will take you there today.

The reserve is surrounded by a high wall. The inscription says "Beware of wild animals, entering inside may cause death or injuries".

The Reserve is the house of many species, not only bisons. For each of them you can find an information card with details of their lives and habits. Do you know who is the hero of this one?

Yes, it is the wolf. I hope the Red Riding Hood is not wandering in Białowieża right now.

In some cases these information cards are really necessary to even guess which animal is inside. Like here - any clue who is inside?

Well it is a wild cat called wildcat (really, that is the official name!).

Look! I think we have found the bisons! To be honest I am a bit disappointed this one looks a lot like a bigger cow.

Luckily the information card helped again. It is not a bison but a hybrid between a bison and a cow. They call it "żubroń". I challenge you to pronounce it correctly.

Who may live in this large meadow?

This is the house of deers.

Just look at these antlers! What a fantastic stag.

The ladies (called does) are smaller and seem a bit nicer.

Did I hear well she reminds you of roe deers? Well it is definitely a different species. But roe deers are also present in the Białowieża Reserve so you can judge by yourself.

Feels like Valentine's Day, with everybody kissing, doesn't is?

And these are not the last representatives of the deer family. Any guesses who is relaxing in the back?

It is a moose of course. It may seem small when it lies down but when it stands up it is really huge.

Yes, I know, you are waiting for the bisons. But I just want to show you one more inhabitant of the Reserve. Be quiet so that we do not interrupt its lunch.

The females of wild boars are very protective over their piglets so we'd better not come too close.

Finally, here they come. On the map you can see places where the bisons live freely in the Białowieża Forrest. There are around five hundred animals on the Polish side and roughly a thousand on the Belarusian side of the border.

When you look from a distance they look just like home cattle.

But when you look closer you realise they are much more. Real kings of the forest.

European Wood Bisons were close to extinction as a result of heavy hunting. When the scientists decided to reintroduce them into the Białowieża Forest there were only twelve animals left! All currently living bisons descent from these twelve ancestors. Let them move on with their lunch peacefully.

I must admit now honestly that the main reason why I came to Białowieża was to meet my cousins, the tarpans.

They are wild horses who live freely. Unfortunately they are not too kin on travelling so it is always me who needs to visit them. This time I came to meet and greet the younger one. So cute!

I hope that this visit in the bison reserve was fun and instructive for you. And that you did not get a cold - the late autumn is well established in Poland already.

1 comment:

  1. Chyba jeleń spodobał mu się najbardziej! :)