Pašiliai Wisent Breeding Reservoir

The wisent is the biggest wild animal now living in Europe. A giant of usually 3 meters length, 2 m height and 1 tone weight would undoubtedly make an unforgettable impression once unexpectedly met in a wild forest. However, the possibility to meet it in a wild nature is pretty small as this breed now is on a strict preservation. It is one of vanishing species preserved and breed mostly in special reservoirs, parks or zoos.

The Pašiliai wisent breeding reservoir in Panevėžys is the only one place in Baltic states where visitors can have an eyeful of these impressive animals. It is a paled territory of 50 hectares where 22 wisents live. 50 more wisents freely walkabout in the forest nearby in approximately 30-40 km range from the reservoir. The very beginning of the nowadays wisent breeding reservoir was in 1969. The mixed Pašiliai forest appeared to be suitable for breeding the wisents that faced the final extinction in 1919 in Lithuania. 2 first wisents Motok and Moda were brought there from the Belovež forest. By the way, this forest is located on the board of Poland and Belarus and  it is the place where most wild wisents live nowadays. Motok and Moda successfully started the new generation of Lithuanian wisents. The first wisent born in Lithuania was named Girinis. Since nowadays according to an international agreement, every wisent born in Lithuania must be given a name which would start in letters GI. The herd of wisents then slightly grew. As soon as some animals were let out to live in freedom for a first time, it appeared that not all can survive. These who were let out in Šešuoliai forest in Širvintai district, died or were hunted. Naturalists then came to conclusion that bigger herds of wisents can survive and breed only in a very huge forests. In Lithuania there are no such woods, so the number of animals let out to freedom must be limited.

The Pašiliai wisent breeding reservoir nowadays is well preserved and often attended by visitors. 15000 inquisitives, most of them children, come to the reservoir every year. Visitors can walk down the cognitive Girinis pass of 0,5 km length which is extended in a picturesque place by the river Linkava. In addition to watching the rare giant animals, people can admire the variable nature, to watch other beautiful animals like stig deers, moufflons and daniels living just by the reservoir. Of course, the main attraction is watching wisents. These animal look very calm and quite. And really, wisents are not aggressive at all, however, in case they are scared, they become berserk! We can only imagine, how strong these giants are and what injuries they could make to anyone looking at sword`s points… The only one wisent proficient in Lithuania Rytas Papšys warns the visitors of the reservoir to be disciplined while watching and especially while getting closer to wisents (entering their fold). For visitor`s convenience, forestry of Panevėžys erected a high watchtower, also developed wisent living conditions, established new watering and feeding places.

Obviously, people take care of the Pašiliai wisent breeding reservoir as its importance is clear. Children love to participate in nice annual name giving fest of juvenile wisents every year, grownups like to listen to interesting stories about European wisents told by a professional reservoir`s guide. Finally, everybody love simply watching these rare impressive animals in natural surroundings. It enables people to realize, what a wonderful nature it is we live so close to.

Opening hours: Tue - Fri 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Sat - Sun 10:00 - 6:00 PM
Entrance fee - 2-4 lt.
Guidance - 10 lt.