Does the wolf belong in Germany? Not according to the CSU

The Christian Social Democrats believe that there is no place for wolves in Germany, and members of the party have called for their intentional extinction. Taking around 10% of the vote they are a small but relatively influential party – and given the way that elections work in Germany, coalitions are common. Unfortunately, coalitions will often give small parties an outsized voice, so this foolish position has the potential to become government policy faster than one would expect.

Having returned to Germany in 2000, there are now as much as 1500 wolves living within its borders
Continue reading “Does the wolf belong in Germany? Not according to the CSU”

Linking bear and wolf populations across Europe is the best way to preserve them longterm – is this possible?

The Pyrennes in the south west of France, and the corresponding area across the border, are a wonderful area of wilderness. There are currently about 64 bears living in this area. So where are we on the road to recovery?

Were the the entire Pyrennes mountains wild, it is thought that these mountains could support 600 bears. However, this area is not an area that is set aside for wilderness – there is a whole population of humans living in these mountains (almost 700,000 people live here).

It is thought that the bear population of the Pyrennes could potentially get to 250 in its current form.

Continue reading “Linking bear and wolf populations across Europe is the best way to preserve them longterm – is this possible?”

Talking of the Cantabrian bear population of Spain, its growth is incredible – can its success be replicated?

In the 1990s the bear population of this mountain range consisted of about 50-65 in the western population, and 14-20 in the east. No more than 30 years later, that population numbers 300-400 (as much as a 6 fold increase).

How did they do this, and can the success be replicated. It is thought that just two stems were responsible for their recovery.

  1. Firstly, efforts to protect the environment have been successful. With a healthier ecosystem, the country is more capable of sustaining a bear population.
  2. Secondly, education of both locals and visiting tourists has lead to a greater acceptance of the bears. Furthermore, with the success of tourism, locals increasingly seeing the bears as an asset rather than a threat.

These bears are almost entirely vegetarian, and while efficient hunters whatever meat the consume, here it is usually carrion – animals that have naturally died, or been killed by other animals.

As a result, the bears are far less of a threat than wolves (though even wolves can cause little threat if farming is set up correctly). Bee keepers are threatened to a greater degree by the bears, however by returning to ancient bee keeping habits, this can be reduced to a minimum.

With a Bee keeping structure like this, if built properly then bears are incapable of breaking in

Back in the 1950s there is thought to have been as many as 1000 bears in the wilds of Spain, so the population still has some recovery to go through.

Never-the-less this is a good news story that is extremely encouraging that large carnivores and omnivores are still capable of surviving in the modern landscape of a western European country.

This is well worth a visit. A link will hopefully be added to this page in the next week or so

Hello – I am back. Wildlife trip watching Cantabrian bears

Currently, we are still a small operation, so when I am away articles cease. This will change we move forwards.

I have been in Spain. I drove our new electric car down and spent a few days in the Cantabrian mountains.

An image showing what much of the Somiedo national park is like

Why the Cantabrian mountains? I visited them with my family some time ago, but with little time available (and two small children in tow) I was unable to get to the right places to see the bears.

That was not the case here.

Continue reading “Hello – I am back. Wildlife trip watching Cantabrian bears”

Wild trip to Sweden – Part Two – Bear watching

We first headed to the area north of Västerås which is prime bear territory. Despite their size and therefore presumed clumsiness, bears are astoundingly quiet when they wish to be.

That being said, an area inhabited by bears or wolves tends to be pretty wild, and so there tends to be a feeling about the area. In the UK there are few areas with low enough density to allow this to happen but in Europe that is different. Sweden accentuates this even more, as Sweden only had a population of just under 10 million spread out over a country the size of France. This means Sweden has a population density of 24 people per square km compared to UK 407 per square km. Continue reading “Wild trip to Sweden – Part Two – Bear watching”

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