Welcome to your guide into the wild world of Romania. With a humid continental climate, Romania is hosting a variety of forest animals, migrant birds, and even dolphins in its Black Sea waters. Most of Romania’s fauna lives in the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests of the Carpathian mountains. Despite the harsh environment, some daring chamois also inhabit the high altitudes of these mountains. From bear sanctuaries to bison reservations, Romania’s geography is spotted with places where you can admire the beauty of these animals. In what follows, you will find out about the animals that live in Romania, hunting habits and the best places to visit.
The Animal Reservations of Romania
Although in Romania, the climate is favorable to 90 mammal species, some are highly endangered or near-threatened. In the southern plains of the country, many rodent species, like the European mole and the Romanian hamster, find their home. But the biggest most impressive mammals populate the forests in the mountains. Among these, the brown bear, the grey wolf and the last of the bison population in Europe, can be admired in animal reservations across the country or into the wild in organized tours. Here are some of the most significant animal reservations in Romania.
The brown bear, maintaining a strong reputation as the naughty neighbor of Brașov’s inhabitants, has its own reservation in Zărnești. The Libearty Bear Sanctuary is reparation to all bears kept in poor conditions in circuses or zoos. To visit the sanctuary, you can book an appointment according to this schedule. Of all the animal reservations, this one is the closest you can reach from Bucharest by car with just 172 km.
Luckily, there are five bison reservations in Romania, and they are worth a visit. Hunted for centuries in Europe, the bison, or zimbru in Romanian, is nowadays a protected animal. You can see bison exemplaries in two animal reservations: Vânători National Park and Slivuț Bison Reservation. The first is located in Neamț county, in Moldavia, and the latter in Hunedoara county, close to Retezat National Park.
Into the Wild in the Danube Delta
As you probably know by now, the Danube Delta is the largest (1312 square miles/ 3400 square km) and most impressive animal reservation in Europe. Also dubbed a biosphere reservation, the Danube Delta has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1991. Among the animals that live in Romania, but settle temporarily in the Danube Delta is the Dalmatian Pelican. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has a project to conserve the major breeding population of this magnificent bird.
When you arrive in the Danube Delta, you feel like you plummeted into a wild aquatic universe. Everything is serene, floating or flying around you. It is impossible not to notice that nature is more powerful than people in the Danube Delta. Rather they are the ones to adapt to the animal kingdom surrounding them, not vice versa. For this reason, the inhabitants of the biosphere reservation leave their horses and cattle to roam freely into the wild. You can meet, watch and admire these animals in the Danube Delta, in Letea and Caraorman forests. In addition to that, bird watching custom boat tours are available from Tulcea or Murighiol.
Dobruja, where the delta is, has an unusual Mediterranean influenced ecosystem for this part of Europe. That is why it is home to a species of tortoise. You can probably spot the Dobrujan turtle in Măcinului Mountains or along the coast of the Black Sea. Its Latin name is Testudo graeca or Greek tortoise, in translation.
Hunting Animals That Live in Romania
Indeed, there is a lot to say about hunting in Romania. Nevertheless, some of the most hunted animals in Romania are wild boars, the red deer, the roe deer, the Rupicapra, and other endangered species like the European Lynx. Since 2000 Romania has been a member of FACE (Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EU). The legislative role belongs to the National Association of Sports Hunters and Fishermen. With a history that goes back to 1880, this association is in charge of regulating hunting seasons in Romania. In 2016, the Romanian government banned trophy hunting of brown bear, wolves, lynx, and wild cats, only to resume it in 2017.
If you are curious about the history of hunting in Romania, there is a wide range of museums you can visit. Our recommendation for the most comprehensive weaponry museum is the August von Spiess Museum of Hunting in Sibiu, Romania. Then, as a fun activity for traveling families, there is the Zoological Museum in Cluj Napoca, in Transylvania. Also, a 3-hour visit to the Museum of Natural History in Bucharest is the perfect opportunity to see other animals that live in Romania.