Wigry National Park

Wigry National Park was founded in 1989 covering the area of about 15 thousand ha, of which the forests constitute 61%, the waters 19% and the arable land 15%. 386 ha are strictly protected, including 35% of forests and 65% of waters. In 1979 the group of Wigierskie lakes was put in the International Project AQUA.

The Park is situated in the north-eastern part of the Augustowska Forest, in Suwalskie Lake District. The early glacial landscape is diversified by hills of terminal moraines (height – to 35 meters), eskers, kames, glacial gullies and hollows of numerous lakes, with the biggest Lake Wigry (surface – 2187 ha, max. depth – 73 meters), across which the Czarna Hancza river flows. A natural peculiarity of the Park are numerous and plentiful coastal well-heads, e.g. small forest lakes called “suchary”, surrounded by peat morasses.

The Park is dominated by forest communities (16 groups) mainly spruces and pines, alder swamps, swamp forests, as well as marshy meadows and forests growing on dry ground. Quite a big area is covered by peatbogs (30 groups) and water communities.

There are around 800 species of vascular plants, 200 species of the phylum Bryophyta and 300 species of lichens, 47 legally protected species, including 10 orchids with the rare Lady’s slipper Cypripedium calceolus; the spreading pasqueflower Pulsatilla patens, the mountain arnica Arnica montana. The flora is dominated by northern species, with rare swamp-peat plants, e.g. the sedge Carex tenella, the saxifrage Saxifraga hirculus and the cyperaceous herb Trichophorum alpinum.

The rich fauna comprises: around 45 species of mammals, with the wolf, the elk, the beaver and the otter, around 190 species of birds, including 155 protected species, the rarest ones are: the crossbill Loxia curvirostra, the redwing Turdus iliacus, the spotted eagle Aquila clanga, the Lapp owl Strix nebulosa. Among 17 species of reptiles there is the European pond tortoise, and in the waters 25 species of fish, e.g. the lavaret, the European whitefish, the lake bulltrout. The fauna of the invertebrates is represented by: 13 species of leeches, 46 species of the phylum Mollusca, 50 species of the class Crustacea and around 500 species of insects, with the very rare Diachrysia zosimi.

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