Wildlife in Krakow
Closest thing to a wild animal most visitors approach
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
and the grateful birds have even stopped migrating to warmer
climes in winter.
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
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
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.
There are six Polish national parks within
a 150-kilometers radius around Krakow. The nearest one,
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
are situated in the Carpathian Mountains south of Krakow.
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
Polish national parks in
the Krakow region