Wildlife reclaims Polish forests

After just two weeks without human interference, due to the banning of entry to forests, animals have come out of their natural habitat and started to explore human settlements.

On Sunday, Poland’s Environment Ministry stated that the effect of introducing a ban on entering forests has been astonishing. Forest rangers admit they have not seen such behaviour from wild animals in years.

“It is incredible how fast nature is revived when there are no people around. Two weeks of no entry to forests was enough for animals to lose their fears. They play with their young ones on roads, trails, forest parking lots, they enter sheds, indeed, they’ve even left forests and begun exploring settlements in the suburbs of cities,” said a forest ranger from Browsko, Adam Roczniak.

According to the ministry, in Zakopane, southern Poland, a flock of deer was wandering on one of the mountain resort’s main streets.

Unusual behavior of animals was also noted in the Białowieski National Park, eastern Poland, which is home to the Żubr, a European bison. “Bisons have been spotted in places they would never visit in daylight during the spring. We’ve been laughing that they’ve started protesting, and demand the ban on entering forests to be upheld, as they can finally move around their home without restraints,” said the director of the Białowieski National Park.

According to State Forests spokesperson, Anna Malinowska, this does not only apply to large animals - for instance, common toads can safely mate as they are not killed by cars in large numbers. “And this is an increase in population necessary for the ecosystem,” she said.

The government has announced the ban will be lifted on April 20th. The wearing of face masks however will remain obligatory in all public places.

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