Białowieża National Park

Białowieża National Park


Location: Podlaskie Voivodeship   Map

Map: 152 sq km


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Description of Bialowieza National Park

Białowieża National Park is located on the border between Poland and Belarus. It covers an area of 152 sq km of a famous Białowieża Forest or Puszcza Białowieska. Bialowieza National Park is the oldest park in the country and it is also one of the most ecologically diverse regions in Europe. However it is especially famous for a herd of 800 wisents or European bisons that live here. Thousands years ago these beautiful animals used to roam all over the continent. However by the early 19th century most of them were hunted down by man. European Royal families attempted to save few remaining herds by prohibiting hunting to everyone except the royal members. However this did not help much. Most of the bisons were wiped out. Only in 1801 Russian tsar Alexander I ordered piece of land to be reserved for these animals. Additionally several serfs were paid to guard these animals from hunters. They were also ordered to hunt down carnivore animals including, lynx, bears and wolves. The population of wisents grew, but World War I and World War II took heavy toll on large mammals in the forest. Many were hunted down by hungry soldiers and eaten. After 1944 preserve was re- established and their numbers began to grow. In fact some of the bisons were transported to other parts of the Eastern Europe including Chernobyl Pripyat area. Surprisingly their numbers have grown despite radiation damage.