The Sierra de Culebra is a hunting reserve on the North East corner of Portugal, and across the border in Spain.
This hunting reserve was essential in saving the Iberian wolf when it was at its smallest 70 years ago (or so).
Currently roughly 10 packs live within the reserves boundaries – so around 80 wolves. Given that the reserve only covers 80-100 square miles, this is easily the highest density of wolves in the world.
While it is thought that the adults will have mostly survived, this years young are likely to have been too small and weak.
Thankfully, the wolf in Spain is now doing quite well. The Iberian peninsula is thought to contain about 2500 wolves, as such the loss of the Sierra de Culebra is not likely to threaten their further survival.
Speaking from experience, I hope that this reserve recovers as it is a special place.
It was set up to highlight important wildlife news. While it is always possible for it to do more of this, I believe that it is succeeding on this front to some degree.
The next aim was to simplify wildlife travel. This is obviously far harder. We have begun, but with Covid having put paid to most wildlife travel for the last few years, this is yet to take off in any meaningful way. We aim for the website to make it easier to find interesting wildlife and to be able to go and visit it.
We have a few destinations that are live, however there are millions of potential wildlife destinations around the world (ranging from the huge to the tiny). It is obviously not possible for these to all be listed by one person (or even one organisation).
This is where our latest phase comes in. We are building members areas. Now there are 2 different groups of people who we wish to cater for.
MEMBERS The first is those who live alongside wildlife: We wish to help these people gain a positive impact from living near wildlife. The aim is that whether their primary occupation is to do with the wildlife or not, they can make money from it. We are building a page builder for anyone to list their wild place, and start hosting visitors – in return for money which can offset any damage done.
AFFILIATE MEMBERS This is for anyone else who wishes to save the natural world. This membership will cost a little bit a month, but will give a range of benefits. This includes discussion forums, but also includes the ability to help the website grow by listing places which you have visited (and the people you encountered) and therefore helping us protect it by giving it a financial bonus – which will be lost if the wildlife is lost.
The software has had a bit of a conflict which is what has resulted in the pause in posts, but we hope we have solved this problem. If we have, we hope to go live with our members areas in the next few days, and be able to partner with you all in a more practical way
We are in the process of creating the 2 members areas. This will hopefully be ready to go live in the next few weeks. more details coming soon. The first members area is for those readers who want to help us move the websites aims forwards: essentially trying to make it always more profitable to retain wildlife than to kill it – through creating a marketplace for it to be advertised: as you can imagine this is a huge job and we need all the help we can get. Apart from giving you a members area, we want to set things up so you can be an advocate for the sites aims – it will be possible for you to add destinations to the site in the members area, There will also be discussion forums and the ability for readers to interact with me.
The second members area is to help the website fulfil its objective: this will be for people who either live alongside wildlife “in the shadow of mankind” or run something in a “wild place” or run a “hide”. This is designed to work as a forum for those listed on the site, so while people can sign up before listing, this is essential if you wish to remain a member. We will also include those who work in conservation and possibly a writers area (those who agree to write an article for the website ever week or so). This members area will be free for eligible people and will give similar resources.
We have had some issues with security over the last few months. We have succeeded in improving security, but seem to be having some plugin issues (we have been intermittently locked out). We are hoping that these problems are behind us (thankfully they have not impacted the front end of the site).
We continue to strive to become the go-to resource for both conservationists and wildlife tourism. As you can imagine that is a huge aim, but we hope that when these member areas go live, some of you might join us, and help make it a reality.
Rabbits are not native in the UK. They were introduced about 1000 years ago. the first Myxomatosis outbreak in the uk was in 1953. There have been various foolish uses of this disease (the Iberian Lynx is largely only threatened with extinction because it relied heavily on rabbits for food, and these disappeared when myxomatosis was introduced.
Hares are a native species, so it is of greater concern if they are being eradicated. More than 1100 hares have been identified as having died from this, over the last 4 years. Now, as they currently have a population of more than 800,000 individuals, this is not currently a big concern. However if the outbreak has a similar impact to rabbits, then hares could disappear from parts of the UK.
It is already thought to have lost 80% of its population over the last 100 years.
Unfortunately, with our modern habit of farming breeds of wild species, we are giving perfect conditions for new viruses to appear.
The UK is known as a democracy around the world. This is why there is increasingly alarmed commentary on a new bill working its way through parliament. The Police and crime bill like many bills is a large complicated piece of work. I am sure that it has some positive things inside it, but there are significant numbers of negative ones which will cause issues for many of the subjects that this website addresses.
On new years day Priti Patel announced that she was going to concentrate on cracking down on Eco protestors during 2022. The bill contains all sorts of astounding bits. Police will be able to stop or constrain protest – they will even be able to fine protesters for inadvertent breaches of restrictions that the “ought” to know.
Why is this a problem? Well, because as a world we are facing joint problems with the climate crisis, and the extinction crisis.
In neither field is the government pulling its weight! We are a wealthy country, yet we are doing little to help in either respect.
It is particularly concerning, that this law is being pushed through on the understanding that police need to be protected from violence – even though in most instances, the violence is both started by and mostly done by the police to the protesters. Upping stress levels in the protestors is also a regular method, which often naturally leads to violence -then blamed on the protestors. One such method is kettling where large numbers of people are forced into a small area and then not let out.
Delegitimising protest at this time is an afront to British freedoms. If the police (and the law) start viewing all protest as illegitimate it changes how they police it.
Currently, there are two substantial threats to a healthy planet earth. The first is climate change and the second is extinction rebellion. Extinction rebellion has on many occasions done things that are extremely disruptive, however, to basically give the police the power to delegitimize protest is far to large a step in the other direction for a free country.
What has the UK done to fight climate change?
Now we may well have done better than some other countries, however, look at the increase in emissions from imports. Last March it was announced that we had reduced our carbon footprint by 51% excluding aviation and the carbon footprint of our imports. We live in a global world- if we cut our emissions in the UK, but increase them abroad by getting other countries to make what we use, the impact is identical.
This strikes me as a perfect example of a government which needs to be challenged. Yet protests against the governments inaction will become illegal without approval – by definition not freedom.
Extinction rebellion has likewise caused many problems. Now like many of you, I have been inconvenienced by their actions in the past however they are raise an important issue. The more of the natural world we loose the worse it is for us. The natural world should be valued far more simply for being wild, yet there are huge services that the natural world supplies for us anyway. Rainforest loss will likely turn vast areas to desert, and cause large areas to be come incapable of growing crops. What untold medicines lie undiscovered in the last great rainforests -destined to be cut down before they unveil their secrets.
With politics as it is, it is often not in the interests of an elected government to do things that will only come to fruition in decades time, they need to be re-elected every 5 years. A democracy, particularly at times like this, must allow demonstrators. On these two issues the government is not acting with enough urgency
We must not be silenced! Now, I say this writing in a blog. The last time I looked, this blog is usually read at least a few thousand times. It is unfortunately far easier for the government to ignore these sorts of media.
Will Boris Johnson survive? Who knows, though it is clear that he should not. Labour is currently far ahead in the polls. However, as the Conservatives do not need to face the public in an election for another 3 years, it is not something that they need to worry about at the moment. For my British readers, do write to you MP! it is an alarmingly authoritarian step, and it must be stopped if we are to be able to pressure our government to act to save our planet from the worst of the potential damage.
Apologies for the pause, holidays are increasingly busy.
Happy new year! I hope that everyone had a relaxed and healthy Christmas. It was wonderful to have a Christmas where I saw all my siblings and sat down to a large gathering for food. I just hope that the price we pay for relaxing the rules is not too high.
There are many new things in the pipeline.
We are close to unveiling our members areas. One will be for those who are listed on the website as one of our wildlife destinations – there are many positives to sharing your vicinity with wildlife but there are also plenty of problems. The other will be for those who regularly visit the site and are keen to support our work.
The other will be for readers such as yourself. This area will cost a small amount to join (£5 per month at the lowest level) and will allow you to interact with other members, bring wild news of interest to you to the attention of the website, and join us in our quest to save the natural world – there will be a way for you to submit wilderness destinations (obviously this will be helpful to the site, but you will also be recognized for this and I hope that you will be keen to join our effort.
We are also close to adding the ability for people to build their own page to list wild places. The aim is for this process to be incredibly simple, however as you can imagine, if this site is to reach its potential I cannot write all the pages. My hope is that as we leave the strange world of COVID, people will start to find this and add destinations across the world.
On a personal note, my family will be travelling to South Africa this summer (so long as COVID does not cancel plans) to visit the Kruger for 2 weeks. There are a variety of reasons for this trip. Firstly, we intended to visit regularly but due to life, have not been there for 15 years. Secondly, we are keen to show our children the place. Thirdly, we want to add all the public rests stops to our site and need to visit to be able to do this. Fourthly, we are keen to test the live sightings board that we created and is listed on this site – check that it is working and make sure that it does prove useful, and finally fifthly, I am hoping to go on one of the wilderness trails. We hope to return with many wonderful stories to write up and videos to add to our youtube channel.
I am hoping that our tickets have not been booked too early – they are fully refundable or delayable if COVID makes travel impossible this year. However, I hope that I am not the only one who is keen to start travelling again. If you are looking at doing some wild travel this year, do consider some of our locations. While many of them are quite pricey they can all be combined with some self driving safari, which brings down the price dramatically.
Anyway, do keep reading our news, I hope that it is of interest, and have a great year
There is lots going on at the website behind the scenes. Hopefully, this will be able to go live over the next few months, but is absorbing some of my time – hence the gaps in posts.
We are creating several members areas. These will be called “members” for those who are listing some form of wild experience or are examining the idea (wild places, in the shadow of mankind or hides). I hope that over time this will develop into a community which can support each other. It will have a range of useful resources and will facilitate other people joining our mission. This website is meant to be a resource – to help those hands on in conservation.
Another is “Supporters”. This is open to anyone, with a monthly cost of probably £5. This will also have a series of discussion forums and other ways for you to engage – including the ability to interact with the blog staff. As you can imagine (if you have read our mission statement) the task we have set ourselves is very large. I know that I am not the only person concerned about the natural world, but at the moment few seem to be trying to simplify and help it in a way like us. I hope that supporters are going to be able to help in various ways – there will be ways for you to send us articles that you have written, as well as a way for you to submit places to be added to our various lists (there is no way for me to visit all wild places on the planet -even if I travelled non-stop).
We are also in the process of redoing our forms for adding wildernesses to our lists.
I enjoy writing the blog, and I hope that you enjoy reading it, however the work of the website runs beyond this. I value every one of you which drops in from time to time. Unfortunately, the natural world is under threat, so I feel that merely writing about it is not enough.
I hope that many of you will join me in this enormous task and between us we can make big differences to the health of the natural world