|Eurasian lynx by Robin Rigg, SWS. Copyright.|
Early starts and long walks though deep snow in sub zero temperatures were part of the daily routine, as was the great hospitality in the warm lodge owned by our Slovak hosts. An extra treat was the local thermal spa where we luxuriated like Japanese macaques while the crisp night air (-18 degrees C) froze our hair and eyebrows!
|Collecting hair samples from a lynx's resting spot|
by Sam Puls
During the survey days we saw tracks and signs of a whole host of wildlife including martens, wild boar, stoats, foxes and incredibly even brown bear. Bears would normally be in hibernation in early February, but the extreme cold had taken its toll on their reserves, and forced them to get out and forage. We were also treated to views of red and roe deer, red squirrels, foxes, hares and one participant even saw the local beech marten. Among the birds we saw crossbills and crested tits, through to ravens and a golden eagle - it was a wildlife paradise situated in a spectacular Narnia-esque landscape.
One wolf pack we trailed went across two pistes in a ski resort, a couple of hundred metres from a hotel! this reminded me how closely these maligned but shy predators can be to human activity with virtually no-one being aware they're around.
Slovak Wildlife Society is doing excellent work, not only with this survey but also in a range of other projects aimed at reducing conflicts between predators and humans. For more about their work or to find out about the next White Wilderness trip, visit www.slovakwildlife.org
|Wolf trail through forest in a ski resort|