Situated efforts to combat species extinction mobilize a network of institutional and logistical interventions, as well as politicized ideas about indigeneity and belonging. This article maps out the knowledge exchange and circulation of animal bodies between the Zoological Garden in Poznań and the forest reserve in Białowieża during the interwar period in Poland as part of the state-building project. A focus on the reintroduction of the wisent (Bison bonasus) and the back-breeding of the tarpan wild horse (Equus ferus ferus) exposes the biopolitical logistics of infrastructuring wildlife in the age of nationalism. Through these two breeding projects, animal bodies emerge at the interface between zoological and war logistics, demonstrating how biological life becomes the target of military intervention via species conservation. Looking closely at the efforts to restore the populations of extinct and extant representatives of local megafauna, this article highlights the renewed interest in native species as an accessible resource for recrafting institutional and national identities. By analyzing the logistical strategies of a marginal zoological collection in relation to a nature reserve in the last primeval forest of Europe, it traces how these strategies impacted both local and global scientific research and its popularization. Not only does such a shared institutional history reveal the itineraries of knowledge production but also the ways in which war has shaped nature management.

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