Mountain goats are rapidly becoming nocturnal due to the heat: impacts?

Just bare in mind, with the video above, if you have problems with heights, the view when you start the video above will not be pleasant.

So, if you are a species who spends its days moving around on cliffs, which most species would spend their lives avoiding often even if the alternative choice is death, clearly it is extreme. 
The fact of the matter, is that heights are not the only threat that animals like mountain goats face when living in the mountains: Bears, wolves, eagles, and wolverines and even animals like snow leopards that live in the mountains, will get the majority of their calories from meat. Animals like mountain goats, along with various deer species, will be the mainstay of these predators in the mountains.

What is, unfortunately a fact, is that mountain goats do not fly. As such they need to be able to see the cliff, so as to be able to step carefully and not loose their footing. 

This means that goats cannot become nocturnal, as without enough light, they will fall to their deaths. As such mountain goats tend to be crepuscular – active in the early morning and late evening

 However, this move has already happened, so all that this move might do, is reduce the length of time that mountain goats can remain active, which is likely to lead to starvation amongst much of the wild population.

Rhodope mountains (Balkan Mountains)

Note – this is currently classed as a future destination with no links. Hopefully this will change soon

These mountains are split between Serbia and Bulgaria. Rare species in these mountains include cinereous vultures can be seen soaring above. Among the dozens of other raptor species Eastern imperial eagle, Saker falcon, Levant sparrowhawk, Peregrine falcon and several other eagles can also be found. The whole region is also a stronghold within Bulgaria for wolf and jackal.

In the Bulgarian Rhodope mountains there are some of the last Balkan lynx thought to number 50.

Alps (including Julian and Balkan extension)

The Alps as well as the Julian, and the Dinaric Alps

A vast mountain range in central Europe, covering almost 300,000 square km (115,000 square miles). This place would naturally have been a wildlife haven. However lying at the center of Europe, the wildlife populations have been extirpated (a word for local extinction) from different sections of this range over the centuries. Importantly, the Alps have also had human settlements dating back a very long way (indeed, there is traces of Neanderthals in the alps 40,000 years ago. As such it is essential that as the wildlife populations are allowed to recover, this happens in a way that benefit the local human population.

One of the best-known and largest range of mountains in Europe, the Alps are a large mountain range that is shared between France, Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia. Measuring around 1200 km wide and 250 from top to bottom, this mountain range is huge. It includes Mont Blanc the tallest mountain in Europe. The part of the range covering Italy and Slovenia are also sometimes called the Julian Alps. Beyond this, with almost no gap, the Dinaric Alps, which lie in the Balkans continue this chain, stretch from Southern Croatia through Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and on into Kosovo and Albania in the Southeast. 

As with other mountain ranges in Europe, there are a number of mountain specialists such as alpine marmot and chamois, as well as ibex. Due to the relative isolation of mountain ranges, generally each has its own subspecies of animals such as ibex and therefore there are often not that many making them prone to local extinction. Below you will find links for each European Alpine country, this will go into more detail on each countries success at preserving the big 3 – bear, wolf and lynx; the smaller creatures can generally be seen throughout the alps, though many are altitude specific. 

French Alps in the summer

The Alps have a small but growing population of all of the 3 big predators of Europe wolf, bears and lynx. As in other parts of Europe there ride has been bumpy, however they appear to now be starting to do far better. Mountain ranges such as this, can often supply a last refuge of various wildlife due to the difficulty of hunters and Poachers from getting into the mountains often enough to eradicate them completely. A large mountain range like this which struggles so many countries can provide highways between different countries to allow the animals to recolonize.

There are currently about 100 wolves, split between the French and Italian Alps, with around 40 on the German side. It is thought that eight have crossed the border into Switzerland, though most of these are individuals so it is not thought there have been many successful raising of young. A Swiss wolf protection group estimates that there are now 300 wolf packs roaming the Alps. Now given the number of countries that it covers, this is not a high number, though it does suggest that recovery is well on its way.

There is a population of about 30-40 bears in the Italian Alps, though these are sparsely populated, and continue through the Apennine mountain range along the center of Italy (it is thought that there are around 60 of these bears in total). Lynx spread throughout parts of the Alps there are areas where they are not present. There is a good number in the west Alps where they are thought to be spreading nicely. Also exist in the east, in places like northern Croatia.

Obviously this is a large area, and therefore although the places you can go to increase your odds of seeing wildlife. I will attempt to build a network of pages to help in this search, though as with any wildlife watching nothing is guaranteed. 

Mountains are less used by humans so when wildlife returns it can thrive
Lynx are shy, and rarely seen, they are highly important for the ecosystem
Italian bear in the Alps Copyright VOLODYMYR BURDYAK

The Alps are spread across France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. These countries can be well split in two as far as their wildlife watching prospects. France Italy Germany and Slovenia all have populations of wolves bears and lynx, while these are usually small they are established either naturally or through reintroduction. 

Liechtenstein is too small to have a permanent population of any of these animals that is sustainable on its own in the long term, though from time to time animals are likely to wander across the border. Switzerland has no bears, though it does host about 80 wolves and about 100 lynx split into 2 populations (one of those is in the alps). Austria is thought to have two wolf packs , and also has a small number of bears that have returned from neighboring countries.

However, all countries in the Alps have healthy herbivore populations, including alpine marmots, chamois, ibex and even the Alpine Salamander is wide spread. This means that a hike in the Alps should lead to animal sightings, and children are likely to be fascinated if they are quiet enough to see any of the wildlife around you. While the predators are returning, there are still parts of the Alps where sightings are highly unlikely, and even in high density areas, expect to spend much time sitting quietly in order to get lucky. Having said that, the Alps are full of vantage points from which you can sit with binoculars or a telescope and keep watch over a large area – your best chance of seeing these charismatic but shy animals.

Below is a link to each of the countries, with more localized information and places to stay.

Carpathian mountains

Carpathian Mountains

The Carpathian Mountains are one of the wildest and largest ranges of mountains in Europe; due to its location within Central and Eastern Europe it is not as well known in the UK and other Western European countries, however its wildlife is far more intact than many other mountain ranges. Indeed while it is less well known for those in western Europe, the long drive or flight can be well worth it. 

If you’re interested in seeing truly wild landscapes, the long drive is well worth the effort.

50% of the range lies within Romania, however the great arc of the Carpathian mountains also includes 17% in Slovakia and 10% in both Poland and Ukraine. It also includes small portions of the range in the Czech Republic, Serbia and Hungary. Perhaps as a result of so much of this range lying in its country, Romania is home to a big portion of the continents remaining large predators (15% of Europe’s wolves, 35% of the bears and 20% of the lynx).

Roaming any of the Carpathian mountains can be a rewarding experience. We will list some of the highlights lower down the page, however, any part of it will give you a feel of being away from the bustle of modern life. Bear in mind that the part of the range that lie within Northern Slovakia and Southern Poland, are also called the High Tatras.

There are likely to be interesting animals to watch out for, throughout this mountain range. Unfortunately, due to humans destructive behavior some animals range is less than it would be naturally. This is particularly true of the predators, and in this instance the highlighted areas at the bottom of the page should help you choose a location to stay with a wealth of local wildlife. European Bison were also eradicated though a recent Romanian reintroduction effort seems so far to be going well.

Visiting these countries as a tourist can be complex, as much of the infrastructure is young. They certainly are places to stay and and plenty of infrastructure in place, however road surfaces can be terrible. Furthermore once you reach countries like Romania progress can be slow, as there are very few motorways, and roads tend to pass straight through the middle of villages, lowering speed limits to just 40 kilometres an hour. However once you get there, you are met with a view incredibly similar to what you would have seen centuries ago, with vast ancient woodlands and and farms with haystacks and often cut by hand. When we have visited my family have always driven all the way, which is very possible; it is also unfortunately the case that if camping, it is hard to take all your equipment with you on the plane. 

Over time, I hope to build up a significant network of places to stay – though in the early days I will be reliant on other more established networks. The reason to want to build a network on this website is simple: people travelling for wildlife often have different priorities for where they stay. While of course these people want to be comfortable and safe, for many of these people they are happy to put up with less creature comforts in order to see the wilderness that is on offer.

At the top of the page is a clickable map of the Carpathians, with each click leading to a different page. I will also be building a sightings board. Now, as with other sightings boards it may take time for the sightings boards to gather significant numbers of sightings, though merely adding your own sightings can help you map out where the wildlife feels safest during your holiday.

See Animals Wild