Start page arrow European bison Show Reserve
European bison Show Reserve Print

The animals in the Show Reserve are exhibited in semi-natural conditions,
in large enclosures with natural vegetation,
so they may be not visible all the time.

Map of the Bia這wie瘸
National Park

In the first half of the 19th century, the Bia這wie瘸 Forest was the exclusive natural refuge of the lowland bison.  The population of the Bia這wie瘸 based population was oscillating between 350 and 1898 specimens until the outbreak of the World War I, and shortly before the war 727 specimens were recorded.  The war which also covered the area of the Forest, started the destruction of the local fauna.  The first units of the Germany army entered the Forest in August 1915.  Bison, in the result of many years of human care, were not afraid of humans and were decimated first.  In March 1917, German stocktaking indicated only 121 specimens of these animals.  After withdrawal of the Germans, the survivors and the poachers from the local population ended this act of destruction.  In 1919, the last bison in the Bia這wie瘸 Forest died.

Only bison in enclosed animal farms survived – in zoos and zoo parks.  At the end of 1924, their total number was estimated at 54, from which there were only 3 specimens in Poland (including two bulls and one cow). They were a private property of the prince von Pless in Pszczyna.

Sightseeing European bison
Show Reserve

The first step towards restitution of the bison in Poland in a free roaming state was the creation of an reserve for these animals in 1929.  It was located at the road connecting Bia這wie瘸 and Hajnówka.  The newly constructed reserve with the total area of 22 hectares was divided into 3 pens – one large one and two small ones.  In one of the small pens, display specimens were placed and could be viewed from a special location for tourists.  In 1932, the reserve was expanded by adding a large, 37 hectare pen, designated for pure-blooded bison.

A head of an adult bull

On the 19th of September 1929, two bison were transported to Poland to Bia這wie瘸 - a male Borusse from Germany, with a hybrid of the Caucasian bison genome and Kobold – a bison from Denmark, a mix of European and American bison.  The following bison to come included: on the 10th of October 1929, a pure-blood female Biserta and a female Faworyta – a hybrid of European and American bison; on the 29th of August 1930, a pure-blood female Biscay and a female Stolce – a hybrid of European and American bison. All these animals came from Sweden.  In 1931, two more bison were transported from Germany - Hagen and Gatczyna. However, they did play any particular role in the restoration process since they soon died of age.  One more pair of bisons transported from Sweden - Björnson and Bilma – did not actively participate in the restoration in Bia這wie瘸.  Björnson died in 1935 in the result of a duel with Boruss, while Bilma never produce any offspring due to the advanced age of the animal.

"Kuprysko" (sand-bath)

Breeding Bia這wie瘸 (lowland) line of bison was possible only in 1936, when a 3 year's old bull Plisch from Pszczyna was added to the local population (17th of April). This particular animal had a fundamental meaning for restitution of bison in Bia這wie瘸.  The first calf from Plisch was born by Biscaya already in the following year – 1937.  This was the first calf of the lowland type born in Bia這wie瘸 since the beginning of the restitution process.

A young bison

Consequently expanding the breeding process of pure-blood bison in Bia這wie瘸, in 1936 all hybrids animals were removed from the reserve and transported to Smardzewice, where American bisons were also bred.

The war in 1939 saw 16 bisons in Bia這wie瘸, including 3 bison of Bia這wie瘸 type and 13 bison of the Caucasian – Bia這wie瘸 type.

Bisons eating

The animals survived the warfare and at the end of 1944, there were 17 bison in the Bia這wie瘸 reserve.  Immediately after the liberation, the animals were provided with care and the breeding reserve came back to the interrupted work. In order to create better conditions for the expanding breeding, construction of a new reserve was commenced, which was approved for use at the end of 1946. The newly constructed reserve with the total area of 123 hectares bordered directly with the older one.  Their total area amounted to 203.23 hectares.

Despite the low number of lowland bison (4 specimens), the breeding process was directed at elimination of the Caucasian – Bia這wie瘸 bison from Bia這wie瘸.  Between 1946 and 1949, 22 bison from of this type were removed from the reserve.  The last Caucasian – Bia這wieski bison left Bia這wie瘸 on the 25th of September 1950.

European bison x cattle



Successful development of the restoration breeding of bison in Bia這wie瘸 after the end of the World War II allowed to move to the free roaming breeding stage.  In the Polish part of the Bia這wie瘸 Forest, first bison were released in 1952, and the first calf was born in 1957. Between 1952 and 1966, 38 bison were released from the breeding reserves.  Since 1967, no more new bison have been released.

The existing European bison Show Reserve with the total area of 27.9 hectares was created in 1937 and was initially the restitution area for the forest tarpan.  Since the moment the restitution activities related with the tarpan horses were suspended and in 1955 the pen for bison was created, the reserve has been a tourist attraction.

In 1951, a new reserve was constructed, directly bordering with the display area, with the total area of 43.12 hectares and used as back-up facilities for the display reserve.

The operation of the reserve was suspended approximately 10 years ago due to the general overhaul, targeting at its modernization. It was also supposed to allow for increase in the number of animals on the display. The reserve was reopened for tourists in December 1988.

Wild Boar male
Wild Boars
Polish “konik” pen

In the reserve, in the conditions similar to the natural ones, bison, Polish “konik” (tarpan like), elk, deer, roe deer, wild bore, 簑bro (a hybrid of bison and cattle) and wolves are on display. The display reserve is a substantial tourist attraction. It is also used for natural education for schoolchildren visiting Bia這wie瘸.

The European bison Show Reserve is open for visiting:

  • during the high season (between 15th of April until the 15th of October) everyday from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm;
  • outside of the high season from Tuesday to Sunday fro 9.00 am to 4.00 pm.

The Reserve is closed: 1st January, 7th January, 1st November, 25th December and second day of Catholic and Orthodox Easter.

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