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Today, Białowieża Forest is a forest complex covering the area of 150 000 ha located on the both sides of the Polish-Belorussian border. Western part, situated in Poland, covers the area of 62 500 ha; eastern part, situated in Belarus, covers the area of 87 500 ha – and constitutes "Bieławieżskaja Puszcza" National Park.
Luckily, the Białowieża Forest was protected as a royal hunting ground, and in 19th century as a hunting ground of Tsar, and due to that fact was under special protection – e.g. it was not subject to so called “colonization”, meaning tree cutting and change of the forest areas into agricultural and settlement areas.

Due to the aforementioned fact, from the beginning of the 20th century forests of a natural origin were preserved, and in the forests the greatest European animal was saved – European bison. First illegal tree cutting can be traced back to the I World War period, when, at the beginning of 1919, last bison died.

The origins of the National Park are connected with the expedition of a group of scientists led by prof. Władysław Szafer in April 1919 to Białowieża, who travelled with a purpose of checking whether any European bisons remained in the Białowieża Forest area. Although there were no bisons left, the expedition ended with a decision to undertake the efforts to protect the fragment of the primeval forest in a form of the national park. The efforts undertaken brought the expected result in the creation, on the 29th of December 1921, of the “Reserve” forestry, changed in 1924 into forest inspectorate under the same name. In 1932  the „Reserve” forest inspectorate was changed into "National Park in  Białowieża" having the area of 4693,24 ha covered by strict protection. In 1947 the aforementioned unit was reinstated as Białowieża National Park covering the area of 4716 ha. In 1996 the park area was enlarged by 10 501,95 ha. It shall be also added that natural values and appropriate forms of protection fulfilled, from the very beginning (from 1921), the criteria of contemporary binding international definition of the national park. Therefore, Białowieża National Park is the oldest of 23 national parks in Poland.

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