April 4, 2007

Rangers pay visit to Bialowieza

In preparation for the arrival of the wisents at the Kraansvlak in the dunes of South-Kennemerland, the PWN rangers team ‘South’ paid a visit to National Park Bialowieza in Poland. The aim of their visit was to get acquainted with these animals in their natural surroundings and to learn more about their behaviour. Ranger Coen tells about their trip. "After a long journey on the night train and by bus we arrived in the village of Bialowieza, close to the border with Belorussia. A cosy hotel welcomed us and a good night’s rest follwed the long and tiring trip. The next morning we were shown round by one of the employees of the Park, Katharzyna, and visited the “breeding centre” of the wisent herdbook of Bialowieza."

"The first thing that struck us was the overwhelming silence of the forests and the surroundings. The dead silence in the forest and surroundings was remarkable for us Dutchman. In the afternoon we went for a long walk through the nearby forests. Afterwards a nice beer and a good meal were waiting for us in the hotel. Friday, unfortunately the last day, we visited the Bialowieza nature museum and the primeval forest reserve. To our surprise we were afterwards allowed to visit the free-ranging herd in the Bialowieza forests under guidance of forester Alexander. Meeting the herd confirmed what experts had predicted: the animals looked to investigate us before they slowly withdrew into forest. This was important for us concerning our trial-introduction of European bison in Kraansvlak. Now we ourselves could experience that under normal circumstances the animals withdraw themselves after meeting with humans at a sufficient distance. Our visit to Poland came to an end and after a very cosy night, we accepted our return-journey the following morning.


Preparations transport bison from Bialowieza. Photo: Leo Linnartz