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Kazimierz – a forester from the Bieszczady Mountains

Kazimierz – a forester from the Bieszczady Mountains

Kazimierz is a forester from the Bieszczady Mountains with more than 40 years of experience, and for several years also... a star of the Polish Internet.

The Facebook profile of the forest district where he works has 280,000 followers. 

In his amazing hand-held videos, Kazimierz observes Bieszczady bears, wolves and bison. In the calm, low voice of a man who has spent his entire life in the woods, wearing an inseparable fur cap, he comments on sunrises on his beloved passes, tracks the behavior of birds, and shows traces of the region’s former inhabitants.

“I was born in the Bieszczady Mountains and have stayed here forever, because I cannot imagine living anywhere else," he told us in an interview.

His classmates have scattered around the world. One of them became an actor, another a sailor. However, Kazimierz decided to follow in his dad’s footsteps and become a professional forester.

The Bieszczady he knew from his childhood was a much less wild place than it is today. Finding bear tracks was rare, with people in the surrounding villages passing on such information to one another by word of mouth like an unbelievable rumor.

At the time, less than 20 bears lived in the entire Bieszczady Mountains. Today there are more than 200 of them, and the wild bison population will soon overtake their most famous refuge in another corner of Poland – the Białowieża Forest.


On the trail of nature

He began filming when he saw how much joy the opportunity to observe wildlife gave to people in big cities. “Professional photographers and naturalists who dream of such shots have written to me,” he says.

To us it sounds like an incredible story from the end of the world, to Kazimierz the forest is everyday life. He spends several hundred days a year in it. He knows its topography, just as we know the streets of our towns. He knows the routes on which wild animals travel (always the same!) just as you know the roads connecting Vienna to Graz or Zurich to Basel.

The video

that first conquered the Polish internet was a winter scene shot in 2017, in which a group of wolves tries to kidnap baby bears in front of their helpless mother.

In the middle of the video, Kazimierz, hidden behind a tree, shouts “Leave!” with all his might, scaring off his attackers.

After the publication of the video, a wave of conflicting opinions poured out on the Internet – some were moved by the attitude of the forester, while others rebuked him for interfering with the laws of nature. “I was driven by empathy,” says Kazimierz. A scream ripped from his chest involuntarily. “No one can say with certainty what one would do in such a situation,” he adds.

A rain of likes followed. Kazimierz has been approached from five countries for the copyright to an inconspicuous amateur film in which virtually nothing happens for the first half.


Be yourself

Subsequent recordings, in which our hero caressingly calls out to Bieszczady bears with names such as “Grzesiu” or “Leszek,” eliciting their apparent reactions, have cemented the fame of “the man who talks to bears.” A series of books about “Poland’s most famous forester” was created in cooperation with cameraman Marcin Scelina.


Fortunately, Kazimierz has remained who he is – a man who loves nature and loves to share his knowledge with others. In a conversation with us, he immediately abandons polite formulas and switches to first-name terms. He is keen to show other Bieszczady – those less touristy, located away from the main trails. He does this tirelessly and with remarkable modesty, perhaps characteristic of people who know their place in the world well – and just like it.


Facebook profile of Kaziemierz’s Forestry Division



Related Region: Bieszczady

Sehenswert in der Umgebung