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Bison Herd In The Bieszczady Mountains, Eastern Carpathians

Carpathian Mammals, private departure Oct 2020 (Wolf and Brown Bear seen!)

Tour Leader: Piotr Dębowski (Peter)
Participants: Eugene (LT)

Text by Piotr Dębowski & Mariola Przyborowska
Photos by Piotr Dębowski

We had a pleasure to run this private departure for Eugene, who’s aim was to see the wild inhabitants of the Eastern Carpathians. We have met in Kraków and transferred to the picturesque Bieszczady Mountains in the extreme south-east part of Poland, on a border with Slovakia and Ukraine. Densely forested and scarcely populated, the Bieszczady Mountains are considered the most important Polish refuge for Brown Bears, Wolves, Lynx, Wild Cat, as well as a growing number of wild European Bison. These mountains offer fantastic possibilities for wildlife watchers and an adventure seekers.

Herd of European Bison in the picturesque Bieszczady Mountains, Eastern Carpathians

Our programme for coming days was proportionally intensive to our high-level goal. Everyday we were up well before dawn to trek for several kilometres up and down the hills and check the most promising vantage points. Sun or rain, we were tirelessly patrolling the area, learning about activities and movements of mammals from their tracks, footprints and droppings, including those of Wolves, Brown Bears, Foxes, Red Deer and Roe Deer, some of them very fresh.

Wolf tracks in the Bieszczady Mountains, Eastern Carpathians

During our daily treks we regularly observed Red Deer (mostly stags), small groups of Roe Deer, and Red Foxes hunting at the meadows. At the River San we located impressive beaver dams with fresh signs of Beavers activity. As regards birds, we noticed numerous Buzzards and noisy Nutcrackers, and also had a chance to observe a rare Pygmy Owl. Even though it wasn’t the best time for amphibians, on one of the trails we spotted another interesting inhabitant of the Bieszczady Mountains – the Fire Salamander.

Fire Salamander in the Bieszczady Mountains, Eastern Carpathians

And here are the highlights of our trips:

– a herd of European Bison – ca. 36 individuals, including calves – seen on one of the slopes in the beautiful afternoon light

Herd of European Bison in the Bieszczady Mountains, Eastern Carpathians

Brown Bear –  we had a very short observation of a young individual (although disappearing too quickly between the trees, leaving us a little disappointed)

Brown bear footprint in the Bieszczady Mountains, Eastern Carpathians

young Wolf – an exciting observation at the end of our stay, a single wolf that came out of the forest to feed on the remains of some previous prey

Wolf in the Bieszczady Mountains, photo by Eugene Vigneris

All of that in just three full days in the Bieszczady Mountains. Picturesque autumn scenery was a fantastic background to our daily trips, and many interesting conversations, anecdotes and knowledge-sharing made our days out in the field a memorable time.


A big time thank you, Eugene!

Peter & Wild Poland Team

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