My visit to Białowieza National Park was one with many dissapointments. Unfortunately there was no English speaking guide and it snowed a lot the day I visited the park. And no guide means no access to the Strict Protected zone where you can find the last remains of primeval European forest. Somehow I succeeded in doing 300 metres in this zone… and yes, not ‘completely’ legal.
Since a failure of my back up I lost all my photos of Poland. So I need to explain something which I cannot show you and that sucks.
UNESCO Bison Show Reserve
At first I did a small hiking tour tour to the UNESCO Bison Show Reserve. A good opportunity to see these mighty bisons, but also Tarpan horses, lynxes, and deer. Well, I can tell that this was not great at all! When I entered this enclosed area I found animals in captivity and not in semi-captivity as they avertised on their website. Actually I had to cry because of this situation. The lynx seemed to be walking till getting bored as hell in its fenced territory. The inreverse bred of the Tarpan horses was also said as well. Just knowing that the species was wiped out and only ‘got back’, since there were just a couple of them left in zoos (and still cros-bred ones with domestic horses). After years of breeding carefully we can find some Tarpan horses with ‘wild’ characteristics.
The bisons also live in a large fenced area. I like these massive creatures and just cannot understand why they were hunted to extinction. Very said. Imagine that human kind only had a world population of 1000 individuals living on the same island. How would you feel if you were also hunted? Not afraid of the further existence of man kind? For the bison I’m really afraid they will loose their habitat in the end if conservation efforts will fail. This also includes the wolf, lynx, bears, and countless plant and bird species.
Why am I a so negative?
This is not without reason. This national park (and buffer zones around it) has been used as hunting ground for the Tsars. It is still today, but only the buffer zones of Białowieza National Park (red: the surrounding of the park). These are privately owened and he government cannot do anything about the illegal hunting and clear cutting of the forest. Also there is some illegal hunting in the strict protected zone. Clear cutting will only take place if the government is corrupt. For the latter I have no evidence, nevertheless I am not able to exclude this.