Come and discover the Big 5 in the Reserve of the Caves of Han
Who are the Big 5 in the Reserve of the Caves of Han?
Everybody knows the African Big 5: lion, elephant, rhinoceros, leopard and African buffalo. But did you know that Europe has its own Big 5?
Since prehistoric times, many animals that have lived in our region have disappeared. For the last 40 years the Reserve of the Caves of Han has been offering to take you back on a trip through time to discover the animals that live or lived in our region. In a park of over 250 hectares, the animals roam in vast areas of untouched nature. These include the famous European Big 5.
The Wild Animal Reserve is the only reserve in Europe where you can admire these five emblematic animals from our continent.
These days it is very rare to encounter these animals in their natural environment. Their populations are threatened with extinction and they are being monitored scientifically in an attempt to save them.
You can now meet the biggest mammal on our continent, the European bison. It is the subject of several schemes for reintroduction into the wild and the Reserve is participating in several of these within the framework of the European Breeding Programme for bison. So several bison will be leaving the Reserve this year to go to Romania.
Stop and look at the curious wolverine, an animal of stories and legends. There are about 1,200 wolverines left in Europe and these are to be found only in Scandinavia, where about a hundred of them are in captivity. The Reserve is participating in the European Breeding Programme for this species too.
The wolverine is the biggest member of the mustelid family, which also includes the badger and the beech marten. This predator fulfils the role of a fundamental scavenger in the far north of Scandinavia where it lives. It is a powerful animal capable of attacking much larger animals than itself such as reindeer. It even manages to hold its own against a bear when it is guarding its food.
At the bend in the path you can admire the brown bear. Still threatened in Western Europe, it is the subject of several conservation schemes.
Look deep into the bewitching eyes of the wolves. This animal is gradually recolonising Europe and is getting closer to Belgium. Come and discover that it is not as “bad” as it is made out to be in our stories.
Lastly, discover the lord of the forests, the lynx. It is the subject of several conservation schemes in Europe. The Reserve is participating in the genetic monitoring of the animals in captivity within the framework of these European schemes.