Bialowieza and the Zookeeper's Wife
I've been reading The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman. I've long been a fan of Ackerman. One of my favorite books is a collection of nature essays by her called Moon by Whalelight. The Zookeeper's Wife is about the Zabinskis, a couple in Poland during WWII that ran the Warsaw zoo. The husband was an active member of the Polish Underground resistance movement and the couple provided hiding and protection for many jews (and others) escaping the Warsaw Ghetto. It's an extraordinary story, and Ackerman tells it well.
The Bialowieza forest is mentioned quite a bit in the book. I have heard of it before, but this renewed my interest. Bialowieza is an ancient, primeval forest straddling Poland and Belarus. It may be the last remnant of an old growth forest in Europe. It has towering trees and an astounding amount of biodiversity, but one of the things it is famous for is its forest bison, or the wisent (European bison). They had been hunted to extinction in the wild with the last one in Poland being shot in 1919. Since then, however, they have been successfully bred from captive populations and released back in to the wild in various Europeans habitats, including Bialowieza. I was captivated by the image of these huge, dark, creatures strutting through this ancient forest. In addition to the bison, Bialowieza has wolves, lynx, deer, elk, wild boar, and many species of birds.
on some of the issues of reintroducing a bison heard back to the forest.
Have great week and weekend!