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Wildlife in Krakow 

Closest thing to a wild animal most  visitors approach outside the Krakow zoo are pigeons the central Rynek Glowny grand square teems with. The pigeons live on grain tourists feed them, the same vendors selling the fodder opposite the majestic basilica of the Virgin Mary’s. Whereas residents of Krakow rather take care of white swans that float alongside wild ducks on the Wisla (Vistula river) by embankment near the Royal Castle and the grateful birds have even stopped migrating to warmer climes in winter. 

Altogether, green spaces within the limits of Krakow amount to roughly 55 percent of the total area of the city. In 2016 researchers made an inventory of 1.1 million trees growing in Krakow.

Beside pigeons other birds common in Krakow are sparrows, crows, jackdaws, tits, and magpies. 

 

Wild animals in Krakow

Open fields, groves of trees, forests, and landscape parks interlace in Krakow and its environs. Small wonder stray red deer or roe deer or even a wild boar - to say nothing of fox or weasel - can be seen anywhere on outskirts of the city. And martens often colonize attics of old buildings even in the downtown. 

Large woodlands, the 27,000-acre Puszcza Niepolomicka, stretch some 25 km east from the central Krakow. The forest bison, zubr, reintroduced to the area in 1936, roam that remnant of Poland’s primeval forests rich in fauna. 

In early November 2009 two wild boars roamed Krakow's central Old Town and Kazimierz historical districts in broad daylight and next they took refuge in an empty building undergoing renovation. The tuskers were captured and transferred to the woods when local residents alerted the police. 

Nature reserves of Krakow 

At the same time there is a number of wildlife preserves within the city limits, though they have been established mostly for the protection of endangered flora species. The best known are the 6.5-hectares Skalki Panienskie, the 1.7-hectare Skalki Bielanskie, and the 1.4-hectare Skalki Przegorzalskie reserves in the large, 1,020-acre Las Wolski forest park adjoining Krakow’s downtown from the west. Other Krakow's nature preserves include the 37-hectares Skolczanka, the 34-hectares Skaly Twardowskiego, the 19-hectares Skala Kmity, the 5-hectares Podgorki, and the 2.3-hectares Bonarka. 

National parks around Krakow 

There are six Polish national parks within a 150-kilometers radius around Krakow. The nearest one, 21-square-kilometer Ojcow National Park, stretches just 24 km – or a 15 minutes’ drive – northwest from the center of Krakow. The remaining five national parks of the Malopolska province are situated in the Carpathian Mountains south of Krakow. 

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Ojcow National Park
With its mere 21.5 sq. km it may be the smallest of Poland’s twenty national parks, but the Ojcow National Park ranks among the most attractive recreational areas in Europe, and it is just a 15 minutes’ drive–i.e. 24 km–northwest of Krakow. 

Polish national parks in the Krakow region 

Krakow's Parks 

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