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Title: A Trip to Pilawin - The Deer-park of Count Joseph Potocki in Volhynia, Russia
Author: Lydekker, R.
Language: English
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A TRIP TO PILAWIN


[Illustration: A FOREST SCENE.]



  A
  TRIP TO PILAWIN

  THE DEER-PARK OF
  COUNT JOSEPH POTOCKI IN VOLHYNIA
  RUSSIA

  BY
  R. LYDEKKER


  LONDON
  ROWLAND WARD, LIMITED
  “THE JUNGLE,” 167 PICCADILLY, W.
  1908

  _All rights reserved_



PREFACE


When founding the Pilawin preserve in 1901 my intention was limited
to the breeding of elk, which still have their native haunts not very
far away to the north, but have for many years ceased to inhabit these
forests. No one, to my knowledge, has hitherto attempted to naturalise
these splendid deer in enclosed parks; but the fact that Pilawin forms
a part of their original habitat induced me to try the experiment,
which has thus far proved an unqualified success. The first big game
introduced in Pilawin were thus elk; but soon after their introduction
I had the opportunity when in England of visiting the famous park of
the Duke of Bedford at Woburn, and the wonders there seen enlarged
my ideas with regard to Pilawin. Without any thought of rivalling
the marvels of Woburn, I accordingly decided to add to the Pilawin
park such of the deer of North America and Asia as appeared likely to
thrive in Russia. Consequently I lost no time in obtaining specimens
of American and Siberian wapiti, as well as of Caucasian red deer and
the Manchurian Dybowski’s deer, after which I continued to add other
new inhabitants to the park as opportunity occurred. In 1905, thanks to
the kind intervention of Prince Victor Kotchoubey, who is at the head
of the Imperial estates, I received from H.M. the Emperor of Russia the
valuable gift of three bison from the Imperial preserves of Bielowicz;
while in the following year a pair of their American relations,
imported by Hagenbeck, was added to the herd.

Much work still remains to be done before Pilawin is placed on such a
level that will make it of real interest and importance to the study
of natural history. If possible, I should like to make it the home
of all such species of big game to which the climate and other local
conditions prove suitable. And when established, I want them to live
practically in their wild and natural state, breeding freely, and
lacking any sense of confinement and limitation. I want, in fact, to
see Pilawin, not a zoological garden, but a wild forest, where the
noblest kinds of game may enjoy the largest possible amount of freedom,
and where the sportsman may find the enjoyment of real sport and the
naturalist a great field for study.

Before concluding, I may avail myself of the opportunity of tendering
my best thanks to all who have so kindly assisted me in the enterprise.
My first thanks are due to H.M. the Emperor; and I have next to thank
the Duke of Bedford for the promise of a young American bison, which
I hope will reach Pilawin during the spring. To the Princes A. S.
and F. Radziwill, to Count Constantin Potocki, and to Mr. Zalenski I
am indebted for elk. To Mr. Poklewski-Roziell my acknowledgments are
due for Siberian roe; while I have to thank Madame Ouwaroff for the
valuable gift of a couple of beavers. I have likewise the pleasure
of acknowledging the valuable services of the firm of Hagenbeck of
Hamburg, who carried out to my entire satisfaction all orders regarding
the importation of living animals into Pilawin.

To the author of this little volume I desire to express my deepest
gratitude and warmest thanks; and I am both proud and pleased that
the first description of Pilawin should come from the pen of such a
well-known naturalist as Mr. Lydekker.

Last, but not least, my gratitude is due to the publisher for the
manner in which this account of Pilawin is presented to the world.

    JOSEPH POTOCKI.

ANTONINY, _January 1908_.



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                                    PAGE
  A FOREST SCENE                                          _Frontispiece_
  THE BIG LAKE IN PILAWIN                                              3
  EUROPEAN BISON IN THE OPEN                                           5
  THE MAIN ENTRANCE OF THE ANTONINY PALACE                             9
  BEARS KILLED BY THE COUNT                                           13
  WAPITI STAGS TRYING FOR THE MASTERY                                 15
  AMERICAN BISON IN THE SNOW                                          17
  WAPITI IN THE SNOW                                                  19
  WAPITI CALLING                                                      23
  EUROPEAN AND AMERICAN BISON IN THE PILAWIN PARK                     27
  A TYPICAL PILAWIN SCENE                                             30
  MAP OF PILAWIN                                                      31
  THE SHOOTING-LODGE AT PILAWIN                                       33
  OURSELVES STARTING FROM THE SHOOTING-LODGE                          35
  YOUNG ELK AND WAPITI                                                39
  WAPITI IN AUTUMN                                                    43
  WOLF KILLED NEAR ANTONINY IN 1907                                   46
  THE PILAWIN BEAVER                                                  47
  ELK IN WINTER                                                       51
  AN ASIATIC (? SAYANSK) WAPITI                                       56
  WAPITI STAG AND HIND                                                57
  THE DEAD BISON                                                      60
  WAPITI STAG REPOSING                                                61
  A BULL ELK                                                          65
  THE PEKIN OR DYBOWSKI BUCKS                                         67
  ELK CALVES IN THE SNOW                                              68
  THE AMERICAN BISON                                                  70
  THE EUROPEAN BISON HERD                                             71
  AMERICAN BISON BY THE STAGE IN THE FOREST                           73
  WAPITI BY THE LAKE                                                  77
  A BULL ELK                                                          79
  WAPITI IN WINTER                                                    82
  ONE OF THE BEST WAPITI, WITH THE ANTLERS IN VELVET                  87
  A VIEW IN PILAWIN WITH ASIATIC WAPITI IN THE FOREGROUND             91
  CAUCASIAN RED DEER                                                  92
  A PEKIN OR DYBOWSKI STAG                                            97
  A BIG WAPITI                                                        99
  EUROPEAN BISON IN A FOREST RIDE                                    103
  A GOOD WAPITI                                                      111
  A WAPITI AT GAZE                                                   115



A Trip to Pilawin


Towards the close of the year 1906 I received an invitation from Count
Joseph Potocki to pay him a visit in the following August in order
to see his collection of deer at Pilawin, in the Russian province of
Volhynia. After some preliminary correspondence, an invitation was also
sent by Countess Potocki to my eldest daughter; and on receipt of this
I finally decided to undertake the trip.

We started by the 8.35 P.M. boat-train from Victoria on Monday,
August 19, and reached Warsaw in time for breakfast on the following
Wednesday. Breakfast at the Hotel Bristol (where, for the first time,
we tasted fresh Russian caviare) was a welcome preliminary to an
inspection of Warsaw, under the guidance of the Count’s agent, who had
kindly come to meet us on arrival at the station. The city can be seen
easily and quickly by means of the excellent service of horse-trams,
now in course of replacement by electric cars on the overhead-wire
system.

Our attention was first attracted by the magnificent new Greek
church, built of white bricks, with its golden cupola and lofty,
detached campanile. The church faces the “Bristol,” and behind it
are the beautiful public gardens, which claimed a full share of our
admiration. We also visited several of the fine old Catholic churches,
including the famous cathedral. The striking and lofty monument to the
Polish King Sigismund, as well as the fine statue of the astronomer
Copernicus, were likewise inspected and admired. Perhaps, however,
the portion of the city which chiefly impressed us was the fine old
market-place, with its irregular, picturesque buildings, its numerous
stalls, and the people of diverse nationalities by whom it was
thronged, all busy in either buying or selling.

[Illustration: THE BIG LAKE IN PILAWIN.]

By good luck, we also enjoyed the opportunity of seeing one of the
Czar’s Tcherkess cavalry regiments marching through the city; the sable
uniforms and tall black astrachan papakhas (busbies) of the troopers
forming a striking contrast to the white jackets of the Cossacks, who
are to be seen everywhere in the streets.

[Illustration: EUROPEAN BISON IN THE OPEN.]

After returning to our hotel, by 3.30 P.M. we were on our way to
Terespol station, the terminus of the Kieff line, which we had to leave
for Schepetowka, our destination, at five o’clock. We were somewhat
delayed on our way by a great crush of vehicles at the bridge over the
Vistula; and owing to the crowd of passengers at the station itself,
taking tickets and registering the baggage was no easy matter; but it
was eventually accomplished (by the hotel porter), and we were soon
comfortably established in a sleeping compartment of the train ready
for the start.

Here a word may be said in commendation of the railway service in
this part of the Russian Empire; that is to say, when you are once in
the train. The first-class sleeping compartments are comfortable and
convenient; the _cuisine_ is excellent; and the attendants are civil,
attentive, and expert at interpreting the wants of those passengers to
whom Russian and Polish are unknown tongues. Punctuality is, however, a
virtue which on some occasions might be more cultivated.

At 5.10 A.M. on Thursday (only ten minutes behind our scheduled time)
we reached Schepetowka station, where we found an open carriage, drawn
by four horses abreast, in waiting; and in five minutes we were on our
way to Antoniny, the country seat of the Count and Countess Potocki.
Small strongly-built phaetons with varnished wood-work are used for
travelling. They are built at Vienna, and can be driven either with a
four-in-hand or four abreast. A four-horse team is always kept ready at
each changing-station. When travelling at night a smaller vehicle goes
in front with torches. For baggage a second carriage is provided.

[Illustration: THE MAIN ENTRANCE OF THE ANTONINY PALACE.]

As there had been a deluge of rain during the night, the road, which
for the greater part of the way formed a mere track across the yielding
black alluvial soil, was very bad going, being in places indeed little
better than lakes of mud, and almost everywhere cut up into deep ruts.
Despite this (and the bad state of the track, as well as the condition
of several of the wooden bridges, would have well-nigh broken the heart
of an English coachman), with only a single change of horses, the
journey of some fifty kilometres was safely accomplished in a little
over four hours; and by half-past nine, that is to say, about sixty-one
hours from London, we were heartily welcomed by our kind host and
hostess and their family. It should be added that a metalled road is in
course of construction, which, when completed, will render the journey
from Schepetowka to Antoniny much easier.

To adequately describe Antoniny would far exceed the limits at my
disposal; while even if considerations of space were non-existent, it
would be difficult to do justice to a domain of such magnificence.
It must suffice, then, to state that the palace, which is admirably
situated on rising ground, and looks on to a spacious courtyard, with
the stables on the farther side, has been added to by successive owners
till it has attained what may be truly termed regal proportions, while
it is kept up in corresponding style and state; the owner flying his
own flag when in residence, while when the Countess alone is at home
her flag is substituted.

As an indication of the owner’s sporting tastes, reference may be
made to a fine series of trophies of African and Indian big game
displayed on portions of the walls of the hall as well as on those of
the galleries and corridors above. These trophies are the results of
four separate hunting trips undertaken by the Count: to India, Ceylon,
Somaliland, and the Blue Nile. The Somali and Ceylon trips have been
respectively described in a couple of handsome and lavishly illustrated
volumes, the former of which has been translated into English. Among
the trophies on which the owner sets especial store may be mentioned
the heads of a beisa oryx (_Oryx beisa_) and of a dibatag or Clarke’s
gazelle (_Ammodorcas clarkei_), the horns of the latter approaching
“record” measurements. Personally, however, I was more interested
in the skins of a Somali lion and lioness which show the abundant
brown-spotting of the limbs, underparts, and flanks, characteristic of
this race (_Felis leo somalica_). The lion skin, which (as is proved by
the skull) belonged to an adult animal, is further remarkable for the
practical absence of mane. Spotting seems peculiar (except in the case
of cubs) to East African lions, and attains its maximum development in
the Masai lion (_F. leo masaica_) of German East Africa.

In one of the corridors on the first floor leading from the main
staircase to some of the bedrooms is displayed a fine group, consisting
of a female bear and three cubs killed by Count Potocki last year
in Northern Russia; while skins of three half-grown cubs shot some
years ago in Lithuania ornament the floor. Bears, it may be observed,
are believed to have disappeared some two centuries ago from the
neighbourhood of Antoniny, although they lingered considerably longer
in Pilawin. A wolf was, however, killed near the palace only last year,
and a second soon after our visit, in September, close to where we
changed horses.

[Illustration: BEARS KILLED BY THE COUNT.]

Among the wonders of the Antoniny palace are its enormous wine-cellars,
containing vast stores of rare vintages, of which the earliest is a
superb Tokay of 1693; these were visited after dinner, when we were
attended by a number of servants bearing lighted candles on long wooden
holders.

The gardens also--now rather more than a century old--cannot be passed
over without some mention, as they are almost a dream of beauty and
picturesqueness. Exquisitely kept, and situated on undulating ground
intersected with streams, and dotted with small lakes, these gardens,
which occupy many acres, are noted not only for their gorgeous display
of flowers, but likewise for their splendid timber, consisting chiefly
of spruce, aspen, oak, and sycamore, many of the trees being of unusual
height and symmetry, while all have been planted with a view to the
general effect. The large white Roman snail (_Helix pomatia_) is
abundant in the gardens, where, however, it may have been introduced,
as I did not notice its presence elsewhere.

[Illustration: WAPITI STAGS TRYING FOR THE MASTERY.]

Yet one more feature of the domain remains to be noticed, namely its
magnificent range of stabling, which faces the main front of the
palace, and can have but few rivals, either in size or in fittings. The
stables and stud are under the control of a “master of the horse.”
The mention of stabling naturally suggests a few words concerning
the famous Arab stud, which is kept half a mile or so away from the
palace, and has no rival in Europe except in Mr. Wilfrid Scawen
Blunt’s well-known Arab stud in England. The greater number of Count
Potocki’s Arabs have been bred on the estate; and there is indeed at
the present time only a single mare imported direct from Arabia. With
the bare mention that there is an equally large stud of Anglo-Arabs
and thoroughbreds, as well as a pack of stag-hounds and another
of harriers, the other splendours of Antoniny must be left to the
imagination of the reader.

Antoniny is, to a great extent, a self-supporting colony, having a
large range of outbuildings and workshops, where almost everything
required on the establishment is manufactured. All other supplies have
to be carted by road, either from Schepetowka or from a station on the
Lemberg line, on the Austrian side.

[Illustration: AMERICAN BISON IN THE SNOW.]

To reach Antoniny from the railway at Schepetowka our route lay nearly
due south. Pilawin, on the other hand, lies about eighty kilometres
north of the railway, and we had therefore to return to Schepetowka;
this journey being accomplished on the Saturday in about three and
a half hours, the road being in much better condition than on the
previous Thursday. Saturday night was spent in a small single-storeyed
house belonging to our host at Schepetowka; and by nine o’clock on the
Sunday morning we were ready to start for Pilawin.

[Illustration: WAPITI IN THE SNOW.]

Here a few lines may be devoted to the nature of the country between
Antoniny and Schepetowka. Throughout the whole district the soil
consists of black alluvial mould, apparently extending to a great
depth. The contour of the country takes the form of a series of low
undulating and more or less nearly parallel ridges or hills, separated
by wide valleys, and running to a considerable extent at right angles
to the main direction of the road. In each valley is a river or a
series of ponds, near to which a village is almost invariably
situated. The rich soil yields luxuriant crops of wheat, oats, maize,
millet, buckwheat, hemp, and sugar-beet; the latter being a crop
yielding a large revenue to the owner. Although the country as a whole
is open--reminding one, were it not for the undulations, strongly of
Argentina--oak-forests are to be met with here and there. From the
ponds and rivers are obtained abundance of carp and pike, which afford
the fish-supply to the inhabitants of the district on fast days as well
as on other occasions.

At Schepetowka occurs a deposit of thin-bedded sandy limestone mixed
with sand, containing numbers of marine shells of Tertiary age; this
sand being employed at Antoniny and elsewhere as gravel. I collected
some of these shells on the garden-paths at Antoniny, and when I
returned home took them to the British Museum, where they were
identified as _Trochus podolicus_, a species characteristic of the
Sarmatian stage of the Miocene division of the Tertiary period.[1] As
the species was unrepresented in the collection, the specimens were
a welcome addition to the Museum. Later on, when visiting one of the
Count’s sugar-factories at Koretz (a large town on the Kieff road
near Pilawin), I was shown specimens of a white limestone containing
marine fossils. At the British Museum these were identified as _Trochus
podolicus_ and _Mactra podolica_; the latter species also belonging to
the Sarmatian stage, and likewise unrepresented in the collection. The
_Mactra_, it may be added, is a bivalve, and the _Trochus_ a spiral
univalve shell.

    [1] See Geikie’s _Text-Book of Geology_, 1st edition, p. 867.

[Illustration: WAPITI CALLING.]

Reverting to the Schepetowka district, it remains to refer to the
occurrence of large erratic blocks of a grey syenitic gneiss (commonly
miscalled granite) which are used for road-metal, and likewise as an
ornamental building stone at Antoniny. What I take to be the same rock
is found _in situ_ at Koretz, where it forms the foundation of an
ancient ruined castle belonging to the Count. I was also interested
in a rock containing fine blue crystals of Labrador felspar, polished
balls of which are displayed at the entrance of Antoniny.

To the northward of Schepetowka the nature of the country undergoes a
remarkable change, the soil becoming sandy in place of alluvial, and
magnificent forests of Scotch fir replacing the cultivated ground and
oak-forests on the south side of the line. In these forests, a short
distance from Schepetowka, wild boars are still numerous, although the
number of head is believed to have been reduced by the severity of last
winter. The huge size attained by the Schepetowka boars is demonstrated
by a magnificent specimen--the gift of Count Potocki--exhibited in the
Natural History branch of the British Museum at South Kensington.

After continuing for about a dozen or fifteen miles, the pine-forests
cease, and we are once more on open cultivated land, which continues
all the way to Pilawin; the soil being, however, more sandy and lighter
in colour than that of the Antoniny district.

[Illustration: EUROPEAN AND AMERICAN BISON IN THE PILAWIN PARK.]

Only one change of horses was made on this journey, and that when
only about one-third the distance had been accomplished. Despite the
frightful condition of the roads and torrents of rain, the second team
covered the sixty odd kilometres at a long swinging trot, which was
only broken for short intervals twice during the journey. The last
few miles before reaching the Pilawin forests were, however, on a
macadamised road--the great military road from Warsaw to Kieff. Turning
off from this road to the left some few miles after leaving Koretz, the
final stage to Pilawin--about seven kilometres--was almost entirely
through magnificent primeval forest. At the turning we were met by an
escort of twelve Don Cossacks (whose duty it is to patrol the park),
who rode alongside and behind the carriage till our destination was
reached at 3.30, the whole eighty kilometres from Schepetowka having
thus been covered, despite the heavy rain, in six-and-a-half hours.

[Illustration: A TYPICAL PILAWIN SCENE.]

The forest tract to which Count Potocki has given the name of Pilawin
(a title connected with the ancient family crest) comprises about
seven thousand acres enclosed by an eight-foot timber paling, replaced,
however, in front of the shooting-lodge by wire fencing. The area of
the whole forest from which Pilawin is cut off is about thirty thousand
acres.

[Illustration: MAP OF PILAWIN.]

Passing through the ponderous rustic entrance gates, cleverly
constructed of birch and aspen poles, and surmounted by some fine pairs
of antlers and the Potocki crest, we first came upon a spacious open
enclosure containing a couple of fine bears, now about two years old,
which were captured as cubs in Lithuania by a friend of the Count. In
the enclosure are a couple of tall dead birch-trees, up which the bears
are in the habit of climbing. They are also provided with a kind of
cavern, or den, in which they spend much of their time when the weather
is hot; and they likewise have a bath.

[Illustration: THE SHOOTING-LODGE AT PILAWIN.]

Leaving these guardians, a few yards farther on we reached the
picturesque and gabled shooting-lodge which was to form our residence
for the next ten days; the Count and his family being quartered at
another residence, at Pisczow, some four miles distant on the farther
side of the Kieff road.

This shooting-lodge--which is in telephonic communication with all the
other residences of the Count--is picturesquely situated on the western
side of the Pilawin preserve, and overlooks in front a wide stretch
of open cornfields, bordered by dense forest of Scotch pine, oak, and
birch, with a few clumps of larch; while at the back the forest comes
up to within a few yards of the building itself.

[Illustration: OURSELVES STARTING FROM THE SHOOTING-LODGE.]

Constructed entirely of wood, and erected by the local workmen under
the superintendence of Mr. Sokalski, an Austrian Pole, who occupies
the post of director of the preserve, the Pilawin shooting-lodge is
a spacious two-storeyed building capable of affording excellent
accommodation for three or four guests, and likewise containing the
director’s offices and the dwelling-rooms of the head forester. The
exterior is covered with large sheets of birch-bark, thus giving to the
building the appearance at a distance of being constructed of blocks of
white stone.

The main apartment, on the first floor, which serves both as
dining-room and smoking-room, is adorned with a number of sporting
and natural history trophies, including numerous elk, wapiti, and
other antlers, together with stuffed specimens of the white-tailed
eagle (_Haliaëtus albicilla_), the spotted eagle (_Aquila heliaca_),
capercaillie (_Tetrao urogallus_), and the rare black stork (_Ciconia
nigra_).

I was specially interested in an imperfect antler dug up some years
ago in the neighbourhood, which the owner had been unable to identify.
It is, however, clearly a reindeer antler, although different from
any specimen that has hitherto come under my notice. I think it may
indicate an extinct local race of the species, although I may be
able to write more definitely on this point when a cast (which the
owner will endeavour to have prepared) reaches the British Museum.
From a distributional point of view this antler is of considerable
interest, as it serves to connect the present habitat of the reindeer
with Hungary, where fossil antlers also occur. Till recently reindeer
remains were unknown to the southward of the Alps and Carpathians;
but at a depth of two mètres in a sand-bed beneath brick-earth at
Ober-Laibach, in Krain, there has been found a portion of an antler
of this species, now preserved in the museum at Laibach. This
specimen is of the age of the so-called diluvium. Since in Bavaria
and North Germany remains of the reindeer are abundant in deposits
of the polished stone (Neolithic) age, while they are absent in the
refuse-heaps of the Swiss pile-villages, the inference is that the
species had become extinct in the Alps by the time of the diluvial
epoch.

Another broken antler in the apartment dates back to the time--at least
four centuries ago--when wild red deer still inhabited the surrounding
forests.

The finest pair of elk-antlers in the apartment possesses a special and
distinctly pathetic interest of its own. These antlers, I was informed
by the Count, belonged to an elk which two seasons ago attacked and
killed an unfortunate peasant on the estate. As the triumphant elk was
departing from the scene of the murder, it was immediately attacked
by a pugnacious wapiti with such vigour and determination, that after
a short but severe encounter the death of the peasant was summarily
avenged.

[Illustration: YOUNG ELK AND WAPITI.]

A few words may be here conveniently devoted to the vegetation of
these magnificent forests, which it is the object of their owner to
preserve as much as possible in their original condition. In fact, the
only changes that have been made are the construction of carriage roads
(with a total length of about one hundred kilometres), the clearing
away of fallen and half-fallen timber, the removal of superfluous
under-covert, the draining of some of the swamps, and the construction
of artificial lakes and of open spaces in the forest where abundant
provender can be grown for the deer and bison.

The forest consists mainly of Scotch fir, oak (of two kinds), birch,
and aspen. Generally the pines and deciduous trees grow upon different
tracts, while even the oak, birch, and aspen severally display a
marked tendency to occupy separate areas of their own. In some cases,
however, the forest assumes a more or less completely mixed character.
It is this varied type of forest, intercalated with open clearings
and stretches of marsh and lake, that renders the enclosed area so
admirably adapted for the home of deer of various kinds collected from
many parts of Northern Europe and Asia, and whose habits consequently
display considerable diversity.

Many of the firs in the forest are of gigantic dimensions, one in
particular measuring no less than twelve feet in girth at a man’s
height from the ground.

One peculiarity of the Pilawin forest--shared by no other in the
district--is the presence of numerous luxuriant patches of the Crimean
azalea (_Azalea pontica_), a species whose nearest natural habitat
is the Crimea. According to local tradition, it was introduced from
there to Pilawin by Tatars about two centuries ago; the seed having
been conveyed in the nose-bags of their horses. The yellow blossoms
of this fine azalea impart an unwonted brilliance to large patches of
the Pilawin forest in spring. At the time of my visit there was an
abundance of edible berries of the cranberry and bilberry type.

As Pilawin has only been enclosed for about four years, it may be
regarded as still in the experimental stage; but so far as it has at
present gone, the experiment promises to be a distinct success.

[Illustration: WAPITI IN AUTUMN.]

As the climate in winter is extremely severe, it is obvious that only
hardy species can be expected to thrive; and it is the main object of
the owner that the representatives of these should appear as if they
were living in a really wild state. To what extent he has succeeded
in this, will be apparent in the sequel. When the Pilawin park was
first enclosed, the only large game in the forest were roedeer, of
which a certain number were included within the ring-fence. These have
now increased and multiplied to such an extent that roebuck-shooting is
permitted in Pilawin; and, indeed, is almost necessary in order to keep
the number of these deer within proper limits. In connection with these
roebuck it may be mentioned that during the unusually severe winter of
1906-1907 a considerable number of them succumbed to the effects of the
cold, whereas not a single death occurred among the introduced species.

With the exception of the wild boars referred to above as inhabiting
the pine-forests near Schepetowka, roebuck are the only big game now
to be met with in the district immediately around Pilawin. Elk occur,
however, in the forests about forty miles to the northwards, and an
occasional straggler from these may make its appearance near the
preserve in spring.

[Illustration: WOLF KILLED NEAR ANTONINY IN 1907.]

Wolves, too, either singly or in small parties, may be in evidence
during winter; but lynxes were exterminated many years ago; while
bears, as already mentioned, have been unknown for at least a century
and a half; and red deer, to say nothing of bison, disappeared at
a much earlier date. The last beaver known to inhabit the Pilawin
district was killed in 1904; but these rodents are still not uncommon
some fifty miles to the northward, and subsequently to our visit (in
December) the species was reintroduced into the preserve, where a
portion of one of the lakes has been enclosed for its reception. Two
specimens--a young and an old male--were trapped about fifty miles
north of the park; and on arrival the old one was turned out in the
enclosure, where it proceeded to make itself at home, constructing a
lodge and gnawing timber. Some time later the young one was introduced,
but the old one chased it away, and eventually bit and drowned the
unfortunate creature. Badgers are still numerous in certain parts of
Pilawin, where they have some huge “earths,” while a few otters remain,
and martens and polecats abound.

[Illustration: THE PILAWIN BEAVER.]

A few hares are to be met with in the open country; but rabbits are
unknown in the district, the ground being for the most part too moist
and low-lying to suit their habits, although they occur some miles away.

As regards birds, a flock of some thirty bustards (_Otis tarda_) was
reported not far from Antoniny about the time of our arrival; and the
species is still fairly common in this part of Volhynia. Cranes and
white storks are common in summer, but both species were on the eve of
departure at the time of our visit. In some of the villages situated
near swamps, almost every house has at least one stork’s nest on its
roof; the total number of nests in a colony of this sort ranging from
fifty to one hundred. Although the species is protected in Sclavonia,
in this country there is nothing to prevent any one from shooting
a stork. The bird is, however, considered to be semi-sacred by the
natives; the popular belief being that if a stork is shot, its mate
will come and set fire to the house of the destroyer.

Black storks are very scarce, and the appearance of one during our
visit was therefore an unusual event. They depart later than the white
species.

[Illustration: ELK IN WINTER.]

Capercaillie occur in considerable numbers, both in the preserve of
Pilawin and the neighbouring forests. They are shot in spring during
the calling season. At one of the Count’s shooting-lodges in the
neighbourhood, where a metal plate is fixed to the walls to commemorate
the shooting of each capercaillie, the number of such plates exceeds
ninety; and in the house at Pilawin is exhibited a photograph of five
cocks shot in a single day. Black game (_Tetrao tetrix_), as well as
hazel-grouse (_Tetrastes bonasia_), are likewise more or less abundant
in the coverts. Partridges and quail breed in the corn-fields, although
in no great numbers; the partridge being the common grey species.
Duck of three or four kinds, as well as a few snipe, breed in the
marshes; but there appears to be no winter influx of either ducks or
geese. Hazel-grouse are shot by beating the forest, when the birds
alight momentarily on the branches of the firs or oaks, where they
offer fair marks.

The sight of a sea-eagle sailing majestically over the forest glades
is comparatively common; while spotted eagles may from time to time
be observed, and harrier-eagles (_Circaëtus gallicus_) are abundant.
Eagle-owls (_Bubo ignavus_) haunt the pine-forests at all times of the
year; and in spring a certain number of snowy owls (_Nyctea scandiaca_)
make their appearance from the north. A semi-Indian character is
communicated to the bird-fauna by the number of blue rollers (_Coracias
garrulus_), locally known as Polish parrots, which may be seen in the
open country; while lovely blue-throats (_Cyanecula suecica_) likewise
form objects of special interest to the ornithologist from England. Of
other birds it will suffice to mention that wheatears, red and grey
shrikes, magpies, and wagtails are most in evidence in the open, while
jays, green and pied woodpeckers (lesser and great), and nuthatches
abound in the forest.

[Illustration: AN ASIATIC (? SAYANSK) WAPITI.]

The most interesting feature in the reptilian life of the country
is the occurrence of a number of European water-tortoises (_Emys
orbicularis_) in the forest lakes and ponds. One of these we brought
home, where it is now flourishing in a green-house. Reference may
also be made to the hosts of green tree-frogs (_Hyla arborea_),
whose loud croakings are frequently the only sounds to break the
impressive mid-day stillness of the forest. When we first heard the
croaking, we mistook it for the note of a bird. The huge size of the
ant-hills, many of which are over a yard in height, is another feature
of the forests which cannot fail to strike the observer fresh from
England. The one drawback to existence--and it is a great one--in
this forest-paradise is the abundance of mosquitoes, which make their
presence known in the usual objectionable manner.

[Illustration: WAPITI STAG AND HIND.]

After these general observations the attention of the reader may be
specially directed to the foreign big-game animals which form the great
feature of the park. These include European and American bison, elk,
Persian and Caucasian red deer, American wapiti (_Cervus canadensis_),
Altai or Sayansk wapiti (_Cervus canadensis asiaticus_),[2] a very
dark-coloured wapiti from the Yenisei valley, the Pekin or Dybowski’s
deer (_Cervus hortulorum_), and the Siberian roebuck (_Capreolus
pygargus_). The great charm connected with the bison and deer in the
Pilawin preserve is that they are living in what is practically a wild
state, and in order to be seen have in many cases to be regularly
“stalked,” although not unfrequently the tourist may come upon them
more or less unexpectedly. The extent of the park is, indeed, so great
that there is probably nothing to suggest to its denizens that they are
living in an enclosed area; and the diversity in the nature of the
forest, together with the presence of numerous large clearings (either
natural or artificial), enables them to select and inhabit the kind
of country best suited to their needs. In consequence of this freedom
and choice of “station,” each species or individual takes possession
of a kind of territory of its own; the elk skulking singly amid the
thick foliage of the deciduous forests, while the bison prefer the open
clearings, with the adjacent covert for retirement, and the wapiti
favour the pine-forest. Roebuck, on the other hand, are to be met
with, either singly or in pairs, in almost all parts of the forest. As
labourers are constantly employed in the preserve during the winter
months in draining, timber-felling, and road-making, while carriages
traverse the network of roads when visitors are staying at the lodge
(to say nothing of those constantly used by the park director), the
animals are, however, well accustomed to the presence of human beings,
and can consequently be approached to within comparatively short
distances. Nevertheless they are not too tame; retaining, in fact, all
the characteristic traits and habits of really wild creatures. In the
late summer and early autumn, when the wapiti stags are calling (as
was the case at the time of our visit), it is, of course, necessary
to exercise considerable care and caution in approaching them, and
it is well for visitors to be at all times accompanied by one of the
foresters or keepers in the parts most frequented by the animals.

    [2] This identification is provisional, as it is exceedingly
        difficult to recognise the various races of Asiatic wapiti
        when seen at a distance. For the names and characteristics
        of these races the reader may consult an article in the
        _Field_ newspaper for January 1908.

[Illustration: THE DEAD BISON.]

Here it may be mentioned that, a short time subsequent to our visit,
the stags in the preserve, as I am informed by Count Potocki, became
on a sudden unusually ferocious, attacking everything and everybody
within reach. The head-keeper, Adam, was badly gored by the big wapiti,
but happily recovered. Soon afterwards the same stag attacked and
killed the only bull American bison, this being, of course, a great
loss, as it will be difficult to find another mate for the one cow by
which alone the species is for the moment represented in the preserve.

[Illustration: WAPITI STAG REPOSING.]

Perhaps the best way of conveying to the reader an idea of the manner
in which the animals are encountered will be by recording the results
of our first day’s walk and drive through the park.

After walking a mile or so from the house, the first animal encountered
was a fine wapiti stag quietly reposing in one of the large clearings,
which allowed us to approach within a couple of hundred yards; soon
after, we came across another wapiti stag, accompanied by two hinds of
his own species and a couple of Persian red deer hinds. Some little
distance farther and we encountered a considerable herd of wapiti,
a Persian red deer hind, an Altai wapiti hind, and two hinds of the
dark-coloured Yenisei wapiti. A couple of roebuck were next seen
darting and leaping through the under-covert, and it was noticed that
although one was in the red summer coat, with no white rump-patch, the
other wore the olive winter dress, with a conspicuous white blaze. It
seems difficult to account for this difference, unless it be that fawns
of the year assume the winter dress very early or develop it at once.
This is a point in regard to which definite information from sportsmen
would be of great value and interest to naturalists.

The next animal seen was a three-year-old bull elk lazily browsing
the foliage of the aspens among which it stood, and where indeed it
was almost invisible except to the practised eyes of the forester.
This elk was recently brought from the estate of Prince S. Radziwill
(brother-in-law of the Count) in Lithuania; and since it had
experienced a long journey and had been turned out only a few months
previous to our visit, it was comparatively tame, so that we were
actually able to watch the curious movements of its flabby muzzle as
the creature browsed.

[Illustration: A BULL ELK.]

To resume the chronicle of our day’s excursion, the next animals seen
were three beautiful Dybowski bucks, feeding in swampy pasture by the
side of an aspen-forest. The oldest and largest of this handsome trio
was purchased from a dealer, but the other two were bred in the forest,
and are certainly splendid specimens of their kind. The old buck had
his antlers clean, and was already assuming the uniform dark brown
winter coat. In the younger bucks, on the other hand, the antlers were
still in the bright red “velvet” so characteristic of all the deer
of the sika group, and the rufous, white-spotted coat was shown in
its full summer beauty. The group formed a lovely picture, the sight
of which was alone almost a sufficient reward for the fatigue of the
journey from England. We were, moreover, particularly fortunate in
coming upon these deer on this occasion, as we never saw them again
during the whole course of our sojourn in the park.

[Illustration: THE PEKIN OR DYBOWSKI BUCKS.]

According to Count Potocki’s observations, the stags of this species
are peculiar in that they utter no call--or, at all events, no loud
one--during the breeding season. It would be interesting to ascertain
if this accords with the experience of observers elsewhere, and whether
this silence is characteristic of all the deer of the sika group.

[Illustration: ELK CALVES IN THE SNOW.]

The next sight was an elk hind with two calves, browsing among thick
aspen-forest; the group being almost invisible at a comparatively
short distance. All three animals were in splendid condition; and the
mere fact of the production of twins by this hind affords convincing
testimony as to the well-being of the elks in the Pilawin preserve.
That they should thus flourish is, however, only what might naturally
be expected, seeing that they are living under absolutely natural
conditions in the original haunts of the species.

The final scene in this memorable day’s excursion was perhaps the
finest and most interesting of all. Amid a large open clearing,
surrounded by tall pine and birch forest, stood a noble group of four
European and two American bison, all quietly feeding on the luxuriant
pasture. The whole six animals looked in splendid condition; and the
group also served to emphasise the marked superiority in point of shape
and general appearance of the European over the American species.
The much darker colour and the more heavily haired fore-legs of the
latter, as contrasted with the former, formed very noticeable features.

[Illustration: THE AMERICAN BISON.]

The four European bison--the _zubr_ (pronounced _zoobre_) of the Poles
and Russians--comprised a bull and two cows presented by H.I.M. the
Czar to the owner of Pilawin, and a yearling calf born in the preserve.
Another calf was born this year, but unfortunately died soon after
birth. The bull and cow came from the imperial Bielowicz preserve in
the province of Lithuania, and there is every hope that in course of
time they may give rise in Pilawin to a herd equalling that of the Duke
of Pless in Silesia.

[Illustration: THE EUROPEAN BISON HERD.]

It had originally been our intention to pay a visit to Bielowicz in
order to see the famous bison herd, and permission to do so had been
graciously accorded by H.I.M. the Czar, but the long distance and
difficulties connected with the language-question reluctantly induced
me to abandon the intention.

Here it may not be out of place to mention that the name “aurochs,” so
generally applied to the European bison (_Bos bonassus_), is a complete
misnomer; that term really denoting the extinct wild ox (_Bos taurus
primigenius_), which lingered longest in Poland. On the extinction of
the latter species the name became transferred by the Teutonic nations
to the bison, which in its own country is, however, universally known
as the zubr.

[Illustration: AMERICAN BISON BY THE STAGE IN THE FOREST.]

By ascending a high wooden stage erected between some tall firs, we
were enabled to obtain an excellent view of the bison on the plain
below. The bull displayed some signs of uneasiness by staring fixedly
at our party and lashing his tail furiously from side to side; and
it was therefore deemed inadvisable to approach him too closely on
foot. On a second occasion we enjoyed the opportunity of seeing
this magnificent beast enjoy a good roll in the sand, when it was
observed that, owing to the height of his hump, he was unable to turn
completely over, and had to content himself with half-rolls.

The animal most difficult to come across in the park is the Siberian
roebuck; but we were luckily enabled to obtain one glimpse of a fine
old buck quietly feeding in thick covert, although he was unfortunately
frightened away by a fox-terrier before we could get a full view.
The one glimpse was, however, sufficient to show that the summer
coat of this species is lighter-coloured than that of the European
roebuck, being yellowish fawn in place of rufous. Whether, however,
the white rump-patch is developed at this season I was unable to see.
Unfortunately, the majority of the Siberian roedeer in the park are
bucks. Whether they will cross with the European species remains to be
seen.

Of the Yenisei wapiti (of which more anon) it has already been
mentioned that we saw two hinds during our first day’s tour. A day
later I had the good fortune to come across the stag feeding in
the open; but as it was getting dusk, it was difficult to observe
his characteristics accurately. Indeed, it is by no means an easy
matter to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion as to the specific
or sub-specific characters of nearly allied deer when only single
specimens are seen by themselves in the open.

Several years ago repeated attempts were made by the Duke of Bedford
to acclimatise elk in the park at Woburn; but the experiment proved a
total failure; the animals dying off one after another, till it was
finally decided to abandon the attempt to establish the species as a
denizen of the domain. Much the same thing occurred in the case of the
American wapiti; the herd of which was, however, kept in an extensive
paddock instead of in the open park. In this instance it was likewise
decided to be useless, at all events for the present, to attempt to
maintain the herd.

In Pilawin, on the other hand, both elk and wapiti flourish remarkably
well; and it is confidently anticipated that in the course of three or
four years, when the number of stags of each species will have become
too great, that elk-hunting and wapiti-shooting will be recognised
sports in the preserve.

[Illustration: WAPITI BY THE LAKE.]

During the present year the number of elk calves born at Pilawin was no
fewer than fourteen, of which at least two were, as already mentioned,
twins. During the two or three previous years the inclusive number was
ten, so that the progressive increase is very marked. In all cases
which came under my own personal observation the condition of both
cows and calves was all that could be desired; and the same holds good
with regard to the numerous yearlings and two-year-olds that were seen
during our visit.

[Illustration: A BULL ELK.]

This highly satisfactory state of affairs may doubtless be attributed
to the absolutely natural conditions in which the elk are living,
and the practically unlimited area over which they can wander. The
existence here and there of large natural and artificial lakes (the
latter formed by damming up small streams), coupled with the numerous
swampy tracts, makes the forest an ideal one for these animals, and it
is evident that they thoroughly appreciate their surroundings. One of
the prettiest scenes witnessed during our visit was the sight of a cow
elk leading her two calves across the largest and deepest lake with the
apparent intention of accustoming them to swim. One of the yearling
bull elks (not born on the estate) was in the habit of coming in the
evenings close up to the shooting-lodge in order to be fed with bread;
and if its wants were not promptly attended to, would actually put
its head in at the open door or window. Close examination of this elk
served to convince me more than ever that the glandular tuft on the
inner side of the hock corresponds with the similarly placed callosity
or “wart” in the horse, and consequently that the latter represents
a decadent gland. I also noticed on the forehead, a short distance
above the budding antlers, a pair of whorls in the hair, which are not
generally mentioned in descriptions of the species, and may likewise be
glandular in function.

The length of limb distinctive of elk generally is especially
noticeable in immature animals. Compared with other deer, elk at this
age may indeed be likened to storks among birds; the length of limb
being for the same purpose in both.

That elk and other large species of wild deer require a very extensive
area in order not to deteriorate seems to be undoubted. The owner of
Pilawin considers, indeed, that the number of head of these animals
should be limited to one to every ten acres; while he is also of
opinion that the maximum number of true deer in the preserve should not
exceed three hundred head, and that the elk herd should be limited to
one hundred.

In summer the main food-supply of the Pilawin elk apparently consists
of the leaves of deciduous trees, especially aspen; but in winter
this is replaced by the young shoots and twigs of birch, to obtain
which the elk are constantly breaking down young saplings. The natural
food-supply of the preserve is, however, largely augmented by patches
of oats, buckwheat, lupin, potatoes, and Jerusalem artichokes, which
are sown or planted in the clearings of the forest wherever the soil is
suitable. The buckwheat and oats form summer fodder, while the lupin,
potatoes, artichokes, acorns, and horse-chestnuts serve as a winter
supply, the deer soon learning to scrape out the tubers from the
ground with their hoofs.

[Illustration: WAPITI IN WINTER.]

Before leaving the subject of elk, reference may be made to a point in
connection with the conformation of their antlers which struck me as
the result of an examination of a large series of immature specimens in
the Pilawin shooting-lodge.

It has long been recognised that the antlers of elk belong to what is
known as the forked type, which occurs typically in such species as
the roebuck, Père David’s deer, and the American white-tailed and mule
deer. In this type, it may be well to remind the reader, there is no
brow or bez tine, and the main beam of the antler divides at a longer
or shorter distance above the burr into a single fork, of which the
back-prong nearly always divides again, while in many cases both prongs
are more or less divided, the greatest complexity occurring, however,
very frequently in the hind one.

Hitherto elk-antlers have been regarded as altogether _sui
generis_--mainly on account of the fact that they rise at right
angles to the middle line of the skull. But a comparison of immature
specimens in which the front prong of the main fork is double with
adult antlers of the mule-deer will show that the two are practically
identical in type. In both forms the front prong of the main fork is
two-tined, while the hind prong carries three tines. The distinction
between the two is, in fact, chiefly restricted to the difference in
their orientation. In the case of those adult elk in which the antlers
assume the characteristic shovel-like form, the resemblance becomes, of
course, more or less completely lost.

If this view be correct, it will be advisable to modify the
classification of the _Cervidae_ adopted in _Deer of All Lands_, and to
place the elk in the neighbourhood of the roebuck and the mule-deer,
with which it agrees in the structure of the foot-skeleton. Moreover,
it seems not improbable that the antlers of reindeer are really of the
forked (in contradistinction to the brow-tined) type, and if this be
so, that genus must also be placed near the roebuck--an arrangement
which would accord with the one proposed many years ago by the late Sir
Victor Brooke on the evidence afforded by the structure of the skeleton
of the forelimb.

The present opportunity may likewise be taken of referring to two
very fine pairs of elk-antlers obtained by Mr. Sokalski in Siberia.
Despite the fact of their being palmated, these antlers (which I hope
to have the opportunity of describing on a future occasion) may serve
to confirm the distinctness of the East Siberian elk (_Alces machlis
bedfordiae_), as they appear to differ in certain details of form from
those of European elk.

Returning to the Pilawin deer, the next to be noticed are the American
wapiti, which are flourishing fully as well as the elk; the number of
fawns born during the year being nine.

Another feature indicating the satisfactory condition of the herd is
the large size of the antlers grown by the big stags, of which there
are now three; all being imported animals. Of the antlers shed by the
two best stags of their year in 1907, the length along the outer curve
is in one case forty-four and in the other forty-one inches; while in
both instances the antlers are very symmetrically formed, carrying the
usual six points a side.

[Illustration: ONE OF THE BEST WAPITI, WITH THE ANTLERS IN VELVET.]

In addition to the herd of American wapiti, Count Potocki owns a
certain number of the Asiatic representatives of that group, generally
known on the estate as “maral,” an extremely misleading designation,
which ought to be restricted to the Persian or Eastern race of the red
deer. Some of these Asiatic wapiti, which were obtained by purchase,
belong apparently, as mentioned above, to the race commonly known as
the Altai wapiti (_Cervus canadensis asiaticus_), but for which the
name Sayansk wapiti is better. As regards these, beyond the fact that
they are in the same excellent condition as the Pilawin deer generally,
there is nothing calling for special mention.

Considerable interest attaches, however, to half-a-dozen wapiti
(including two fine stags) obtained by one of the Count’s keepers from
Krasnoyarsk, on the upper Yenisei, in about long. 93° E. and lat. 56° N.

Compared with the American and the other Asiatic wapiti in Pilawin,
these Yenisei deer are darker-coloured in summer; this darkness
being specially noticeable in immature hinds, which look almost
slate-coloured in summer. The director of the park tells me that
another difference is to be found in the more upward extension of
the black borders of the light rump-patch, which, in fact, unite
anteriorly to form a dorsal stripe. The fawns, too, retain their spots
to a comparatively late age, whereas in the Thian Shan wapiti (_C.
c. songaricus_), and possibly also in the Sayansk race, the spotting
disappears early.

The antlers of the Yenisei wapiti, as represented by a pair in the
Pilawin shooting-lodge and two other pairs in Mr. Sokalski’s house at
Pisczow (Pischef), four miles away, are also distinctive. In all three
pairs the fourth tine is comparatively small, and bends inward to a
certain extent, so as not to lie exactly in the same plane as the two
above. In one specimen, at least, the trez tine is absent.

While at Pilawin I was in great doubt to what race these Yenisei wapiti
should be referred. Recently, however, Dr. P. Matschie, of the Berlin
Museum, has published a paper on the wapiti of Central Asia,[3] in
which important information is given with regard to the characteristics
of the antlers of the different races, and the localities where the
type specimens were obtained. The race here termed _C. c. asiaticus_,
which Dr. Matschie calls _Cervus sibiricus_,[4] is stated to be
typically from the Sayansk and Baikal Mountains. With this race is
provisionally associated the wapiti from Krasnoyarsk, although it
is added that the latter may be distinct. Now as the Sayansk _C. c.
asiaticus_ was stated by its describer Severtzow to be lighter in
winter than the Thian Shan _C. c. songaricus_, it is highly improbable
that it should be very much darker in summer. I therefore think that
Dr. Matschie’s suggestion as to the distinctness of the Yenisei wapiti
may very probably be well founded; and if this should prove to be the
case when specimens are available for comparison, the race might well
be named in honour of Count Potocki.

    [3] _Sitzungsberichte Ges. naturfor. Freunde_, Berlin, 1907, p.
        222; see also an article by myself in the _Field_ of 11th
        January 1908.

    [4] As I was the first to attempt to put right the confused
        nomenclature of Severtzow, I consider that the names I have
        adopted should stand.

[Illustration: A VIEW IN PILAWIN WITH ASIATIC WAPITI IN THE FOREGROUND.]

As already mentioned, the red deer group is represented in the Pilawin
preserve by the true Persian maral (_Cervus elaphus maral_) and by
the maral of the Caucasus. From wapiti the hinds of these deer are
distinguishable at a glance by their red coats and the larger amount of
white and black on the sides of the rump-patch as well as by the longer
tail. Unfortunately, I had no opportunity of seeing the Persian and
Caucasian red deer side by side, but I am informed by Mr. Sokalski that
they are practically indistinguishable, as, indeed, might be expected
from geographical considerations.

[Illustration: CAUCASIAN RED DEER.]

In the large amount of black on the thighs they differ, according to
the same informant, from Carpathian deer, which are more uniformly
coloured, with the general tint decidedly darker.

Although this information is valuable so far as it goes, it
unfortunately does not afford a definite clue as to which form of
Carpathian deer is referred to (see letters in the _Field_ for 1905,
vol. cv., pp. 326 and 355). Mr. Sokalski has, however, a fine pair
of Carpathian antlers characterised by their great massiveness, the
absence of a bez tine, and the position of the trez tine midway
between the brow tine and the curiously compressed and expanded crown.
A pair of much younger antlers from the same locality likewise lacks
the bez tine. An old antler of the same type from Galicia is figured on
page 220 of my _Great and Small Game Animals of Europe, N. and W. Asia,
and N. America_, and two antlers, one from Asia Minor and the other
from the Crimea, described and figured by myself in the Zoological
Society’s _Proceedings_ for 1890 (p. 363, pl. xxx.), likewise present
the same general characteristics, although the reduction of the tines
is still greater. Mr. Sokalski also possesses a pair of antlers (one
entire and the other imperfect) dug up a few years ago some fifty miles
distant from Pilawin which can scarcely be referred to any other deer
than the one under consideration, showing the same absence of the bez
tine and a similar conformation of the crown.

Assuming all these antlers to belong to the same type--and it is
difficult to come to any conclusion--we have evidence of a race of red
deer ranging from Volhynia through the Carpathians to Asia Minor and
the Crimea. So far as I can determine, this deer seems to agree with
Mr. Hamilton Leigh’s “grey Carpathian stag” (_Field_, 1905, vol. cv.,
p. 355), a race characterised by the relatively small number of tines
to the antlers. That (contrary to Mr. Leigh’s opinion) it is distinct
from the maral of Persia and the Caucasus, I have little doubt, and if
there were a good specimen in a public collection to take as a type, I
should be prepared to suggest for this race the name _Cervus elaphus
carpathicus_.

This, of course, leaves open the question as to the occurrence of
other stags in the Carpathians.

Both the Persian and Caucasian red deer (maral) do exceedingly well in
the Pilawin preserve, where they will doubtless before long form a big
herd. At Antoniny the Count keeps, for hunting purposes, a small number
of the so-called Polish deer from the Imperial preserves of Spala, in
Poland, which, to my great regret, I had no opportunity of seeing. I
trust, however, that he will send a head to the British Museum at no
very distant date.

[Illustration: A PEKIN OR DYBOWSKI STAG.]

In regard to the other deer at Pilawin, it will suffice to state that
two Dybowski fawns were born during the present year.

Continuing the chronicle of our own doings, it remains to mention that
a couple of days before our departure Mr. Sokalski, at the Count’s
suggestion, very kindly arranged a series of “beats” in order that
we might be afforded the best possible opportunity of seeing the
denizens of the preserve; and these formed one of the most interesting
episodes of our visit.

[Illustration: A BIG WAPITI.]

Roedeer were, of course, put up in large numbers; and among these one
buck was noticed with beautifully “pearled” antlers. We were fortunate
in getting a splendid view of the best stag of the Yenisei wapiti, when
the features referred to above were duly noted. Between two of the
“drives” we came accidentally upon the biggest herd of American wapiti,
with the finest stag in the park among them. When first seen they were
feeding in an open glade, but as the morning was rapidly becoming
hot, they almost immediately betook themselves to a shady part of the
forest, where it was a charming sight to watch them lie down one after
the other, with the master-stag (who had been calling loudly) in the
midst. Soon afterwards three full-grown cow elk broke covert; advancing
with a long swinging trot to the side where I was standing, and then
halting to look around, as if undecided which course to take. There was
something almost ghost-like in their appearance as they first loomed
into view out of the thick covert, and then vanished.

The great event was, however, reserved for the afternoon, when, after
the twin elk calves had been driven out of one piece of forest and some
of the wapiti out of another, the six bison, with the four Europeans
leading and the Americans in the rear, burst out into the open in a
heavy, lumbering gallop, which literally shook the earth, close to
where my daughter was standing. It was indeed a magnificent spectacle.
The “hustling” which the animals underwent during the drives made them
somewhat fierce, with the result that two of the watchers had to spend
the night on a shooting-stage.

In regard to the Pilawin preserve as a whole, there seems little doubt
that it will ultimately prove a complete success, and form a unique
centre of interest to sportsmen and naturalists alike.

In addition to the species and races already represented, the
Manchurian or Bedford’s wapiti (_Cervus canadensis xanthopygus_), the
Amurland wapiti (_C. c. luedorfi_), which I have now good reason to
regard as distinct from the former, the hangul or Kashmir stag (_C.
cashmirianus_), Thorold’s deer (_C. albirostris_), and the shou or
Sikhim deer (_C. affinis_) would probably do well in the preserve,
if specimens could be procured. Sikas and wild fallow deer would of
course thrive, but the owner has no fancy for either. If smaller deer
are desired, the Himalayan musk-deer (_Moschus moschiferus_) and the
Chinese water-deer (_Hydrelaphus inermis_), as well as the Tibetan and
North Chinese tufted deer (_Elaphodus cephalophus_ and _E. michianus_),
might be recommended as interesting species likely to flourish; and,
if specimens could be procured, the milou, or Père David’s deer
(_Elaphurus davidianus_), would almost certainly prove a success.
Sheep, goats, and saigas would assuredly not do; but, despite the fact
of their being mountain species, thar, serow, and takin (at present not
procurable) might be worth a trial, as they are chiefly inhabitants of
forests.

[Illustration: EUROPEAN BISON IN A FOREST RIDE.]

The splendid condition in which the preserve is kept, and the large
amount of work already accomplished in the matter of road-making and
drainage, afford abundant testimony to the energy and capacity of Mr.
Sokalski, the director. A word of commendation may likewise be bestowed
on the relatively high degree of education of the foresters, who
display a knowledge of zoology and botany conspicuous by its absence
among most English game-keepers. Nearly all of these men are acquainted
with the scientific names of the commoner animals and plants to be met
with in the forest; and they know all the berries and funguses which
are good for food, as well as those to be shunned.

While on this point I may venture to put in a novel plea in favour of
the retention of the old-fashioned type of scientific nomenclature. My
German (so far as conversation is concerned) is but limited, while of
Polish my knowledge is _nil_. And yet, despite these drawbacks, I was
able to acquire from the director and the foresters a good knowledge
of the denizens of the forest by means of their scientific names. If,
however, I had known the white stork only by its modern designation of
_Ciconia ciconia_, instead of by its old-fashioned title of _Ciconia
alba_ (and so in other cases), a great deal of such conversation would
have been impossible.

Before bringing these notes to a close it will not, perhaps, be out of
place to devote a few lines to the domesticated ponies and cattle of
the district, as it was one of the objects of my trip to endeavour to
ascertain whether these respectively exhibited any special resemblances
to the wild Przewalski horses (or rather ponies) of the Gobi Desert,
and to the extinct wild ox, or aurochs, which, as already mentioned,
lingered longer in Poland than elsewhere.[5]

    [5] I have already published these observations in the _Field_.

A very noticeable feature among the cattle of the district is the
prevalence of black, dark brown, and black-and-white; equally
noteworthy being the frequency among the piebald individuals of a
broad white line down the middle of the back. A similar white band
also characterizes many of the rufous or fawn-coloured types, which,
on the assumption of descent from the aurochs, must be regarded as
retrograde derivatives from the black (or black-and-white) phase.
Herberstain described the wild aurochs as being black with a broad
light-coloured band down the middle line of the back; and it thus
seems highly probable that in the white dorsal line of the partially
albinistic Polish cattle we have a distinct survival of the ancestral
type of colouring. Among the black-and-white cattle of Holland such
a conspicuous white band seems less common, and the same is the case
with English shorthorns. Major Barrett-Hamilton tells me, however, that
it may be observed in some Kerry cattle. The horns of the ordinary
Volhynian cattle, although small, are of the aurochs type.

The large white, or rather pale cream-coloured, Podolian cattle do
not seem to extend much to the north of Schepetowka. At the Berlin
Zoological Gardens I learnt an interesting point in connection with
these cattle, namely, that while the oxen, cows, and calves are wholly
white, the old bulls have black muzzles and ears, as well as a certain
amount of black on the face and limbs. As black in the Javan wild ox
or bantin (_Bos sondaicus_), to say nothing of many antelopes, is
developed only in the adult males, it seems highly probable that the
black points of the Podolian bulls may be the last vestiges of the
aurochs-colouring in this albinistic breed. In connection with this,
it occurs to me that the red specimens of the aurochs which have been
described may have been cows, as it is quite probable that, in some
cases at any rate, the females may have been in the same stage of
colour-evolution as the cow bantin.

[Illustration: A GOOD WAPITI.]

The country ponies are for the most part uniformly bay, dull chestnut,
or mouse-coloured, with the tail well haired to the root. Occasionally
a pale brown dorsal stripe is observable; but white “stockings” and
a white star on the forehead (which are both regarded by Professor
Ridgeway as indicative of Arab blood) are very rare, and I saw no trace
of dark barrings on the legs. The callosities or “chestnuts” on the
hind-legs appear to be always small. In general characters these ponies
seem to approximate to the now extinct half-bred and mouse-coloured
wild tarpan of the Kirghiz steppes, rather than to the dun Przewalski
type of the Gobi Desert, which is apparently the true tarpan. I hope
to be able to write more definitely with regard to this point on a
later occasion, as Count Potocki has kindly promised to send to the
Natural History Branch of the British Museum a couple of skulls
of these small country ponies, which will enable it to be determined
whether the cheek-teeth in this breed are of the large relative size
characteristic of the wild Gobi race.

Greater diversity of colour occurs among the larger ponies or horses,
used for riding and travelling--probably due to a larger infusion of
foreign blood. Among these I saw one of the yellow dun Norwegian type,
in which the hind-chestnuts were not larger than peas.

Indisputable evidence of near kinship with the wild boar is displayed
by the domesticated pigs of the country, especially the numerous black
individuals, which have a thick coat of bristly hairs, developed into
a more or less conspicuous mane or crest along the nape and back.
Whether, as I am informed is the case with some domesticated Hungarian
swine, they have striped young, I did not ascertain.

Of the smaller wild mammals I saw none except a squirrel (kept in
confinement at Antoniny), which belonged to that race of the species in
which the tail in autumn is blackish brown.

Our ten days’ residence, favoured for the most part with ideal weather,
amid the glorious Pilawin forest came to a close on Wednesday,
September 4, on the afternoon of which day we started for the railway,
_en route_ for Warsaw and London.

In conclusion I may be permitted to take the opportunity of tendering
to Count and Countess Potocki the best thanks of my daughter and myself
for a most delightful visit, the interest of which is enhanced by
the fact that we are the first English people who have enjoyed the
privilege of making “a Trip to Pilawin.”

[Illustration: A WAPITI AT GAZE.]


_Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_



Transcriber’s Notes


Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a
predominant preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not
changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.

Pages xiv and 54 (originally 56): The illustration’s caption, “AN
ASIATIC (? SAYANSK) WAPITI.” was printed with the question mark.





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