Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wild Wonders Of Europe

Bugling red deer stagCervus elaphusDENMARK/KLAMPENBORG, COPENHAGENThe red deer is the most emblematic of all European animals. It is depicted in countless cave paintings, rock carvings, and in the coats-of-arms of noblemen, towns, regions and businesses. It lives in many habitats from treeless moorlands to semi-desert, but was hunted to, and in some areas over the verge of extinction. During the 1800s and 1900s the red deer survived in many countries only in large royal hunting grounds, like the one where this photo was taken. It is now coming back in great numbers, thanks to reintroductions and more sensible hunting regulations. During the fall mating season, also known as “the rut�, the red deer stags use a brawling call to advertise their territory and attract the females.
Dalmatian pelicanPelecanus crispusGREECE/LAKE KERKINI, MACEDONIAAt 16 kilos and with a 3 metre wing span, the Dalmatian pelican is, together with the great bustard and the mute swan, a competitor for the title  ”The World’s Heaviest Flying Bird”. All three species live in Europe. The Dalmatian pelican has made a very successful comeback in the last 30 years, thanks mainly to nature protection measures. Now it is quickly becoming a very valuable nature tourism asset. Lake Kerkini is one of the most productive fish waters in Europe, and supports as well as a vibrant fishery industry also tens of thousands of pairs of breeding cormorants, herons, spoonbills, grebes and pelicans. In 2009 an EU-financed cleanup campaign removed decades of plastic and other garbage from the lake. Can we make a difference? Yes, we can! Nature conservation works! © Jari Peltomaki / Wild Wonders of Europe P.O.Box 42, FIN- 91901 LIMINKA, Finland  mobile: +358-40-5919120 email: jarimobile: +49 0170 937 57 89 email: www:,
Veliki Prstvaci waterfalls CROATIA/PLITVICE JEZERO NATIONAL PARK, LIKAThe turquoise-coloured lakes and pools of Plitvice are fed by springs and runoff from the mountains pouring out over the limestone cliffs in spectacular waterfalls. This is one of Europe’s true gems of nature, previously almost unknown outside the Balkans. Today, during summer, it is visited by some 10,000 people daily.Calcium-carbonates from thousands of years of rushing water dissolving the brittle limestone rock have, together with algae and moss, created the low walls called tuff or Travertine between the lakes and in the waterfalls.Plitvice is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
Atlantic wolf fish and shrimpAnarchias lupus and Lebbeus polarisNORWAY/SALTSTRAUMEN, BODÖMany wolf fish accommodate this shrimp species in their lair, eating titbits from the wolf fish’s favourite meal – sea urchins.The wrinkled blue-grey wolf fish is a highly-prized delicacy which grows extremely slowly and can live for decades. This makes them very vulnerable for the targeted fishing that is now taking place in the Atlantic. More than 80% of commercial fish stocks in European waters are  thought to be over-fished.One third is at risk of being beyond recovery. We all need to try to be more responsible about eating only fish that is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, MSC. Shouldn’t maybe all fish sold in restaurants and shops by law have to be from MSC-certified fisheries?
Bee-eater tossing a bumble bee Merops apiaster and Bombus sp. HUNGARY/PUSZTASZER PROTECTED LANDSCAPE, CSONGRÁD The bee-eater is a specialist in bumble bees, wasps, bees and other larger flying insects. One of Europe’s most colourful and exotic-looking birds, the bee-eater lives in colonies in sand banks. That is why this species has benefited from human construction and roadbuilding, where gravel pits and excavation sites provide many more artificial sandbanks than untouched nature. On the other hand, widespread pesticide use in farming reduces the numbers of large insects that the bee-eater needs to survive. The bee-eater is a Mediterranean species of dry and open country, spreading northwards with climate change. Sometimes they are persecuted by bee-keepers, who are not so enthusiastic about their choice of diet.
Earth and fireITALY/STROMBOLI VOLCANO, EOLIAN ISLANDS  Erupting here in May 2009, Stromboli is one of three active volcanoes in Italy. It has been erupting more or less continuously for at least 2,000 years. This is Europe still in the making. Unseen. Unexpected. Unforgettable.
Osprey at workPandion haliaetusFINLAND/KANGASALA, PIRKANMAAThe osprey is a true global traveller and is found in every continent except Antarctica. Most of Europe’s ospreys breed in the north – Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia - travelling south for the winter. This fishing-specialist has made a comeback in recent years due to a reduction of poisonous man-made toxins in their food, less persecution and better protection.  Stopping the illegal shooting of migrating raptors in Malta, is of an enormous importance for this and several other species.
Sea eagles in Norway.
European bison Bison bonasusPOLAND/BIALOWIEZA FOREST NATIONAL PARKThis is Europe’s largest herbivore, weighing in at over 1,000 kilos. It was once hunted as close to extinction as any animal can be - at one time there were only 13 of them left. Now, there are around 2,000 European bison back roaming in the wild, and another 2,000 in captivity. The Bialowieza forest, straddling the border between Poland and Belarus, is the area where the bison,  or Wisent, clung on and survived. Bialowieza is one of the very few remaining European old-growth broadleaf forests, and it is constantly threatened by logging interests. There are plans to expand the protected areas on the Polish side. This potent herbivore opens up bush and forested areas and creates space for a lot of biodiversity. Centuries ago, these forests were probably much more open and park-like than today, due to the grazing pressure from the herds of then present big grazers and browsers – tarpan horse, aurochs, red deer and bison.
Brown bear Ursus arctosFINLAND/MARTINSELKONEN, SUOMUSSALMI, KAINUUTen years ago, most Europeans who wanted to see bears, went to Alaska. Now they can instead go to Finland, Sweden or Romania, who all have large and growing bear populations, and ecotourism operators who will take you to see the bears from permanent hides. Bears were once found throughout the continent and even inhabited the British Isles until the 10th century. This is the same species as the North American Grizzly, and has made a remarkable comeback throughout much of Europe. Today, the European parts of Russia has by far the largest bear population (c 36,000), followed in order by Romania (6-7,000), Sweden (2,500) the Balkans (2,500-3,000) and Finland (1,000).
Winter Taiga forest in - 40°C FINLAND/RIISITUNTURI NATIONAL PARK, LAPLAND The great northern boreal forest - the so-called Taiga, a Russian word - stretches all the way from far-eastern Russia, down through Scandinavia and to the Baltic countries of Estonia and Latvia, and into Belarus and northern Ukraine. Natural forests store significantly more carbon than managed ones, so for climate reasons we should keep as much unmanaged forest as possible. Unmanaged forests are also much more rich in biodiversity. This is another example of how tightly climate change is connected with biodiversity. Forests also absorb a lot more water than cleared lands, thereby helping to prevent flood disasters and landslides.Riisitunturi National Park covers 77 Sq km and is one of more than 25,000 protected sites under the EU Natura 2000 umbrella and also included in the Pan-European so-called Emerald Network.
Northern bluefin tuna Thunnus thynnus MALTA Not long ago one of the most common fish in Europe, and the economic backbone of many Mediterranean cultures throughout the ages, the bluefin tuna has been the foundation of one of the world’s most lucrative commercial fisheries. After decades of severe industrial overfishing by amongst others an over-sized European fishing fleet, this fantastic resource is now poised on the very brink of extinction. If that fishing isn’t banned very soon, the magnificent tuna will be gone forever. The governments of all 27 EU countries in 2010  decided to back the international ban on trade in blufin tuna. Let us hope the world follows suit.Bluefin tuna are very large, long-lived fish that normally gather together in huge schools. They can reach 30 years of age and the heaviest recorded tuna to date weighed 680 kilos. The Atlantic population of bluefin tuna is estimated to have decreased by 97 % since the 1960s. In recent years, the European fishing fleet has still been taking 60,000 tons of tuna annually, in spite of a sustainable harvest being estimated at 7,500 tons. This is a fish that we should all immediately refrain from eating! The senseless overfishing of the tuna is a disaster of historical proportions. That is also why this photo had to be taken in captivity, at a tuna breeding facility. These fish have now all been served as Sushi.
Matterhorn 4,478 mSWITZERLAND/ RIFFEL LAKE, ZERMATT, VALAISMount Matterhorn, here mirrored in the Riffel Lake at Zermatt, is ”The Iconic Alp” and a true European symbol, one of the World’s most well known mountain silhouettes. It is a mountain of superlatives and among other things, inspired the shape of Toblerone chocolate. In French it is called Mont Cervin and in Italian Monte Cervino. Climate change is enabling lower-altitude species conquer higher and higher ground, out-competing the high altitude species, many of which have their last refuges high up in the mountains of Central and Eastern Europe.
Muskox; Ovibos moschatus, Dovrefjell national park, Norway.
PhotosOFWildWondersOfEurope 015 Photos Of Wild Wonders Of Europe
Mountain impression Lac Blanc with Aiguilles de Chamonix, Mont Blanc
Photos OF Wild Wonders Of Europe_017
PhotosOFWildWondersOfEurope 018 Photos Of Wild Wonders Of Europe
Photos OF Wild Wonders Of Europe_019
PhotosOFWildWondersOfEurope 020 Photos Of Wild Wonders Of Europe
Barbary Macaques
Photos OF Wild Wonders Of Europe_022
Photos OF Wild Wonders Of Europe_023
PhotosOFWildWondersOfEurope 024 Photos Of Wild Wonders Of Europe
PhotosOFWildWondersOfEurope 025 Photos Of Wild Wonders Of Europe
Photos OF Wild Wonders Of Europe_026
PhotosOFWildWondersOfEurope 027 Photos Of Wild Wonders Of Europe
PhotosOFWildWondersOfEurope 028 Photos Of Wild Wonders Of Europe
PhotosOFWildWondersOfEurope 029 Photos Of Wild Wonders Of Europe
Alpine Ibex (Capra Ibex)
PhotosOFWildWondersOfEurope 031 Photos Of Wild Wonders Of Europe
PhotosOFWildWondersOfEurope 032 Photos Of Wild Wonders Of Europe
PhotosOFWildWondersOfEurope 033 Photos Of Wild Wonders Of Europe
PhotosOFWildWondersOfEurope 034 Photos Of Wild Wonders Of Europe
Photos OF Wild Wonders Of Europe_035
Photos OF Wild Wonders Of Europe 036 660x450 Photos Of Wild Wonders Of Europe
PhotosOFWildWondersOfEurope 037 Photos Of Wild Wonders Of Europe


Gerry said...

Love these photos, wild life are some of my favorites. Even the trees are different shrouded in snow.

Ann LRD said...