Wolves have returned to a large national park on the outskirts of Warsaw, decades after they were wiped out there under a hunt launched by the communist authorities.
“We’re really happy,” said Magdalena Kamińska, spokeswoman for the 150sq mile (385sq km) Kampinos national park, Poland’s second largest. “The fact that wolves have returned to our park, from which they completely disappeared in the 1960s, means that nature is in good health and is renewing itself.”
Park employees spotted a first wolf in 2013, but the animal was just passing through. Now there are several and they appear to have settled in for the long haul, Kamińska said.
A young male wolf was caught on a hidden camera just a few days ago, and in September another was spotted drinking at a watering hole.
Poland’s communist regime organised a vast wolf cull in the 60s in response to their perceived danger, paying residents for every animal shot dead. The park’s last wolf pack was killed in 1964.
Officials added the wolf – rare or extinct in much of western Europe – to the country’s list of endangered species in the 1990s following protests from ecologists and animal rights activists, including the former French film star Brigitte Bardot.
The move helped reinstate wolves in certain areas, including the mountainous region of Bieszczady in the south-east. There are about 1,000 wolves in Poland today.
This article was first published by The Guardian on 25 Nov 2015.
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