Experience from Poland: wisent breeding can be combined also with intensive forest management

2013 - 06 - 25

Two weeks full of experience with wisent protection and breeding in their homeland in Poland. This was the specialist study of experts in the country which saved wisents for Europe and also the world and where there are the greatest herds of these large herbivores in free nature.

“In Poland they breed wisents not only in big protected areas, but also in an intensive way in production forests,” pointed out Miloslav Jirku from the Biological Centre of the Academy of Sciences, who is one of the experts who cooperate on the project of wisent reintroduction with European Wildlife conservation organization.

In a wisent breeding reserve in Pszczyna, specifically in game preserve Jankowice, the wisents are bred in an intensive, but sensitively economically used pine forests with a relatively dense network of small, non-intervention areas. “Thanks to it in this locality there is a big amount of frogs and rare butterflies, but also other endangered species, as the Black Stork or the White-tailed Eagle,” added Miloslav Jirku. According to his words, in Poland there is forestry practices and also forestry specialist literature significantly connected with nature conservation, which is not so common in a lot of European countries.

The first part of the stay was a part of a terrain zoological excursion for the students of South Bohemian university during which the future biologists and conservationists got acquainted with practical aspects of big mammals, especially the wisent, protection. The main aims of the excursion were Białowieża and Biebrza National Parks in the north of the country and a wisent breeding reserve in Pszczyna in the south of Poland.

The other part was realized within a specialist grant of Association of European bison breeders. Its part was a week study in wisent breeding in Pszczyna which was followed by a week stay in various scientific workplaces in Warsaw dealing with wisent research and protection. Its part was a discussion with leading Polish experts in breeding, veterinary, parasitological and genetic wisent issues and also a visit of another breeding locality Smardzewice.

“In Poland there is a very obvious pride of the local nature. Not only of wisents, which were saved by Poles, who helped them to survive in the  hardest time during the World War II and as the first ones they returned them to free nature. Similarly, Poles are proud of storks. Every fourth European stork is from Poland and for example their arrival in spring is an event to which also the national television pays an exceptional attention,” added Miloslav Jirku.

The experience gained during the stay in Poland will serve to another development of a wisent reintroduction programme. The experts cooperating with the organization have already got to know the wisent breeding in the Netherlands and other countries within this project.

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