The amazing scenes caught on tape by wildlife documentaries make us witness, every now and again, the greatness of nature and the complexity of life. Those who want to have a personal experience of what is usually shown on the screen have fewer and fewer places to choose from nowadays. They only have left the South American equatorial forests, the African national parks and a few other oases of wilderness in Asia and North America. In Europe, unfortunately, due to human pressure, the natural areas were drastically reduced over time and the endless forests that long ago covered the continent are nowadays mere memories.
What Europe has lost, Romania is now trying to preserve in wild areas which shelter most of the lynxes, wolves and bears living in Europe. The natural treasures of Romania wildlife are one of the most important attractions. About 60% of Europe’s bear population and 40% of its wolf population are located in the Carpathians.
Romania Wildlife – unique reserves in Europe
An entire food chain still survives in the Carpathian forests where nature managed to hold out against the industrial progress. In Romania there are no less than 14 national parks expanding over 1.6 million hectares (4 million acres), one of the most famous being the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. This reserve is included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is unique in Europe for its wide variety of flora and fauna. The Retezat and Piatra Craiului National Parks are impressive especially due to the contrast between the wild scenery of calcareous defiles, the peaks and the gentle meadows full of hundreds of species of plants, among which around 100 are present in Romania only.
A bear-watching weekend in Romania is a great opportunity for nature-lovers to experience a slice of pure wilderness. That is because Romania is home to several thousand brown bears – nearly half the entire European population outside Russia.
The ultimate hot spot for a perfect expedition into the wild is Zarnesti, a small rural town in the Carpathian Mountains. It is right in the heart of the bear realm in an area that boasts one of the greatest expanses of unbroken forest in Europe and is teeming with wildlife: not just bears, but wolves, lynx, wild boar, pine martens and many other species.
Bears are helped and conserved in Zarnesti, near the city of Brasov, where the Bear Libearty Sanctuary was opened.