Bison reserve of Pokazowy Zubra

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The area around Bialowieza in Eastern Poland is famous for being home to the last wild European bison. The bison survived in this area thanks to the fact the zar of Russia had a private hunting reserve in the area so the bison was protected – well except for the infrequent hunting trips of the zar.

Moose

There are still a few bison’s roaming around in the dense forest of the area – but let’s face it your chance of spotting one of these animals in the forest is pretty rare. To increase your odds significantly you can go to the Pokazowy Zubra which is a private reserve for the bison.

The reserve is really a kind of a zoo but the pens here is much larger than what you will usually find in an ordinary zoo. They actually have such a large space for the animals so they leave some of the pens empty to let the vegetation regrow so the animals can get naturally grown food instead of some hay or other foods farmed at another location and transported to the reserve.

Bison

The main attraction at the reserve is obviously the bison but they do feature some of the other animals you can spot in the wild around the area as well if you are lucky.

Wild boar

The first animal you will see when you arrive at the reserve is a horse – it is actually walking at the edge of the park so you can see them without paying for the admission fee to see it. The horses is chosen from local farmers because these animals is expected to be the most similar to the extinct wild horse called the tarpan which used to live in this part of Europe up the 19th century. The last known tarpan died in 1909. It is uncertain how similar these animals actually are to the ancient horse – but the locals might have caught some wild horses centuries ago so the gens of these horses might still live on in domestic horses which has interbreed with the tarpans.

Tarpan looking horse

Other animals you can see at the reserve is different kinds of deer’s which live in the forest outside the reserve. You can see a couple of wild boars as well in a different pen.

There are a couple of pens where you see some hybrids. There have been some experiments cross breeding domestic cattle with a bison – this is done to create supersized animals which supposedly can give great amounts of meat. Unfortunately these hybrids will be sterile so they can only be breed using a bison and a cow – which limits the possible numbers of hybrids you can have. The hybrid is actually a giant and the males can reach 1,200 kilos which is much heavier than an ordinary bison.

Wolfs

In addition to the grazing animals they have a few carnivores as well. There is a pen with a family of wolf’s – it is right next to the deer’s which might actually stress the deer’s a bit but I guess they just have to live with it and enjoy the fact there is a solid fence between them and the wolfs.

Lynx

A special animal you can see here is a female lynx – unfortunately the lynx has lost a leg but here at the reserve it can get by without any problems – I guess it helps when it doesn’t have to hunt for itself. The lynx is lying down so we can’t really see the missing leg but a sign in front of the cage tells the story of the unfortunate lynx.

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