MONTEVIVO SEAMUS SHORTT
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
STORM SANCTUARY MONTEVIVO SERRANOS AND WOODLANDERS ELLOOO… FAUNA OF THE SIERRAS KING FISHER WEE WILL HARVEST MARATHON AUTUMN
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
15 20 29 37 45 51 59 69 75 79
WOLF’S JAWS LA VENTA BARTER… OR NOT FOR BARTER? KABRONAZO GOLFO’S BAY IN VOGUE FREAK LOS PRADOS PERFECT STRIKE HOGS S A S FELLOWSHIP OF ELDERS BUBBLE AND FIZZ SPELLBOUND
89 98 106 116 127 135 141 148 157 162 167 174 183 192
25 26 27 28 29
SCARRED CRIMSON TRAIL BUBA’S TALE KINGDOM OF ICE MASSACRE
201 209 215 222 236
BUCK A SPECIAL GUEST MORTAL COMBAT LOVE
249 255 264 273
GLOSSARY PHOTOGRAPHS ©
30 31 32 33
MANIFESTO WE WILL Nature is the greatest work of art that exists; its infinity knows no boundaries. Humanity forms an integral part of this organic masterpiece and yet in many ways we have lost sight of this fact. Would it not be wise to remember that planet Earth, with its rich biodiversity, is a treasure to be shared, marvelled at and cherished? One of the greatest challenges of the 21st century is not just to protect our planetâ€™s few remaining wildernesses, but also to tend every sanctuary for its diminishing variety of flora and fauna. In many cases these may be local parks, nature reserves or other areas of valuable habitat. Achieving these objectives will lay the foundation stones to solving related problems that are inextricably balanced with a sustainable, healthy and thriving environment. This book hopes to contribute to bringing natureâ€™s pulse to the forefront of our consciousness where it belongs. Make a gesture, a donation or a pledge in order to help some conservation projects, and together we will save Earthâ€™s natural heritage for the future benefit of all.
1ST MOVEMENT Andante
On a remote range of the peninsulaâ€™s wild sierras, dusk was drawing itself around another day that had beckoned winter to step forth well before it was due. Squally weather gusted across the eroded wastelands, whistling around weatherworn rocks, while dark clouds crushed the cringing light. It forewarned that all who could not withstand such rigours should migrate to lower lands. I had been climbing over glacial landscapes with snowpeaked crags for days and now, with this storm head-on, renewed urgency invaded me. Onwards, and yet another mountain pass opened out to more rugged terrain. Taking shelter beneath toppled boulders that offered protection from bombarding hail, gave me time to gather my thoughts. I had long lost my motherâ€™s trail, and those mellow days of basking with her in sunshine felt like dreamy memories. Once again, not knowing what would become of me that night, there was only one natural choice to followâ€Ś instinct. It directed me down towards a distant forested valley, where there could be hope of finding refuge. It is common knowledge that mountains can have hidden dangers. Perhaps you will think me foolish for losing my way in such a wilderness, but bear in mind that I was young, alone, and desperately searching for kin. Fearing the enclosing twilight and setting aside worries of predators, I clambered on. In other circumstances, there would have been time to
enjoy the alpine views and forage for edible delicacies. Not so now; the gale stung me with icy pellets. Cold had partially numbed me, which added to my misery. Momentarily the elements eased off their assault. A false calmness hung in the air and then was pierced by howls from an even greater adversary that had picked up my scent. Amongst rocky outcrops, I spotted the alpha male grouping his pack ready to hunt; their cut-throat cries signified one joint intention. Panic-stricken I fled across the mountainside, while behind me those bloodthirsty wolves gave chase. By the time
I reached the forest below, my paws were cut and bleeding; nevertheless, not daring to look back, I just sprinted on. Nightfall and thick undergrowth meant clarity was virtually gone, and with it hope was fading. They were gaining ground. Seeking cover amongst thorny brush, in a futile gesture, I tried to cover my tracks. The hail had turned to heavy rain, which was a sure sign that I had descended some distance from those frozen highlands. However, the storm raged on, snapping weaker branches from towering pine trees above. Even under the shelter of dense foliage, rain penetrated relentlessly. Oh, what I would have given to find a friendly face, a welcoming smile and a guiding shoulder to lean on – all I had was fear to drive me, as I thrashed through this spiny scrub. A combination of wet slippery ground and my frantic efforts to escape the predators caused me to stumble. Falling awkwardly, and rolling down banks of thistles into a waterlogged ditch, I lay stunned. My faculties began to swim in a tide of confusion. Shadowy stalkers with panting breath were closing in for the kill. Cowering in this quagmire would make me easy prey; struggling with exhaustion, I crawled aimlessly out. Was there no escape from these flesh-craving savages? Suddenly forks of lightning shattered the atmosphere, which fragmented into billions of electrified particles. In that instant, everywhere around me vibrated with brilliant white light – an old tree nearby had been struck and burst into flames as the forest resounded with deafening claps of thunder. Not far away, water gushed from the mouth of a cave. Though I was utterly disoriented, this cascade seemed to offer a lifeline. Catching breath, crouching, and bolting towards it, I leapt through wetness into a void; then there was no way to stop myself from falling. A fathomless pool somewhat softened a violent impact to my head… barely conscious, I spewed up fluid and realized that the fast-flowing aquifer had washed me up onto rocks. It was as if this flooded pothole had
swallowed me, but at least in doing so had saved me from being devoured by those wolves. Rolling thunder muffled the echoes of their frustrated barking. Sensations of pain were intense as I wormed about through blackness; gasping for air, finally I blacked out. An unknown length of time passed. I drifted in and out of reality… Hope came from the twinkling eyes of Mother: she caressed me with her paw, cleaned me with her tongue and kissed me with her nose. It was comforting to be cradled, for there are few things that can compare with a mother’s devotion. Her teats provided sweet milk and the more I suckled that nurturing source of love, the stronger burned a life-source of light that fended off encroaching darkness. Father was there too… we sang songs together – those happy tunes that they had lulled me to sleep with as a babe. At other moments, lying in a cell of rock, I licked hurting wounds as fever scorched my quaking body. On stretching too much, knotted whips of cramp lashed me. Life was ebbing away – this dungeon would make an isolated tomb. “Crrripes!” Gruff growls came out of nowhere. I squinted into a glaring flash-light and realized in horror that a monstrous figure peered down from above. Its bristly face had great fangs protruding from a long snout. This brutal shock would have frightened me to death, had it not been for the kind eyes. I tried to reply, but only feeble chokes wheezed out of my parched throat.
The beast emitted noises from between the saw-like teeth of its huge moving jaws. They were pronounced like words, although I could not follow their meaning. Moments later, two sizeable paws with claws like pitchforksâ€™ prongs lifted me up onto brawny shoulders. The creature stomped off, muttering as it went. Incapable of any reaction beyond helpless whimpers, weakness surged over me causing my body to go limp. Plodding paces made loud sloshing sounds that echoed as we advanced along a seemingly endless underground stream. The lampâ€™s warm glow illuminated networks of dank tunnels. Surrendered to fate, I was carried off deeper and deeper into caverns to be consumed by my terrified imagination.
Varieties of nerve impulses gave assurances that I was alive – floating through space, sounds and smells – in a state of suspended animation. My heart beat rhythmically while someone talked and nursed me. Awakening from coma, my aching body was stretched out under blankets, on layers of ferns with soft mosses cushioning me from an earthen floor. I surveyed my surroundings in bewilderment. All was calm in what appeared to be an underground lair. On trying to sit up, stabbing pains made me abandon this idea. Instead, I lay back and surrendered to sleep. My blurred eyesight came into focus on a radiant fire. Flames were merrily leaping up from trunks of wood which sat crackling in a large fireplace; it was an effort to break my gaze from this dancing blaze. Next to the hearth was a basket loaded with logs which were patiently awaiting their sacrifice. Hanging on the chimney pillar were various fireside implements that included a toasting fork, an ash-shovel and a poker. The view was partly blocked by an enormous armchair. There was a footstool in front of it, where a sizeable cat peacefully dozed curled up on a cushion. My vision drifted up to the broad wooden lintel where a candelabra with burning candles cast its light over a miniature golden ornament. I sniffed the fuggy atmosphere; a beast’s smell dominated over other scents. Feeling inquisitive, I cautiously stretched my neck further out from under the bed covers. From this posture it was possible to scan most of what remained of the grotto. A wooden bowl containing assorted fruit sat tantalizingly close, but out of reach, on a stout wooden table that stood
against the far wall. Alongside, made from similar timbers, were two rustic chairs. An irregular backdrop rose up, formed by masses of rock and tree-roots. Ivy, which grew through cracks in the ceiling, coiled down around several decorative pictures. My nostrils twitched in recognition of nourishing aromas that wafted in from behind, causing my gastric juices to curdle. On turning round, I could see an oil lamp flickering at the far end of the room, diffusing shadows from shelves stacked with many books. Dim daylight filtered through net curtains which were drawn across a wide archway. Sounds of grinding stone were followed by thudding paces. A mammoth shape parted the curtains, sending spasms of alarm through me from head to tail. Automatically, with hackles spiked, I shrank back into my fern mattress. Play dead… this thought clashed with dull throbbing, hunger pangs and other twinges. “Oh, you’re awake, wee fellow.” I hardly dared to breathe. If it were not for being so frail I would have tried to escape, although where was another matter – anyway it was out of the question. This same deep voice spoke again: “It’s time for something to eat.” Virtually every muscle within me was petrified except my belly which rumbled in response. There was no hiding; perhaps being eaten would save me from further torment. Peeking out, I observed the hairy hulk lay down a large tray on the table, before its muscular arms drew some hanging ivy to expose a window. Brightness illuminated the beast, revealing its fearsome features in greater detail. A thickset torso extended into its bearded ruff which in turn supported a shaggy head. Standing up on both back legs, this figure cast its strange silhouette over me. “I’ve never seen such a shivering, scrawny-looking excuse for a fluffy thingumajig! You’re going to need fattening up.” After these none too complimentary observations, the creature began unloading plates from the tray. With surprising 22
delicacy its sabre-clawed paws spread out a wonderful selection of viands. Mouth-watering sights of quince jelly, peach tartlets, blackberry, fig and apple jams combined with smells of freshly baked bread and cured cheese. Together they were almost enough to cover up the animal’s potent body odour. Initial terror had now been replaced by sensations of confused light-headedness. Three loud sneezes in succession were followed by grunting, snuffling, and splutterings of hoarse coughing. “That’s no way to go presenting yourself to someone who has resuscitated you. While you may consider me a stranger, I’ve been looking after you for numerous days now.” These words rang through my mind while I considered their implications. My host stopped busying over the food and stomped towards me. A broad smile revealed those incisors in all their sharpness. Once again, frozen with fear, I had no choice but to accept what fate had in store. “Don’t be scared – it’s time we introduced ourselves and there’s no better way to do that than over a nice reviving tea.” Without waiting for an answer, one of its burly forepaws tenderly wedged a plump pillow behind my head. I winced. “You’ve endured rough times, wee fellow, but have pulled through. The best medicine for you now’s healthy sustenance. So what’s it to be: sweet or savoury?” I gawped, nodding nervously. “Lost your tongue? You certainly babbled enough in your sleep. Not to worry… big Bruno’ll serve up plentiful treats.” He lumbered away and then returned with the bowl of fruit. “Well, what would’ve become of you? Few risk going deep into those mines and it was only by chance that I heard your sorrowful sobs. Echoes carry far in potholes, you know. By the bubbling sweetness of crystal-clear spring water; if I hadn’t
come to your rescue, you’d have suffered a lonesome death,” he remarked, placing bunches of grapes on my lap. “Now enjoy those.” Prior to going off back through the archway, he added cheerfully: “Don’t worry, wee fellow, I’ll soon have you jumping around, back in your prime – believe you me!” How had I arrived at this sanctuary? Who was this placid yet monster-like Bruno? Could his apparent goodwill be trusted? While thinking over these questions, I savoured months of sunshine that had given those grapes their divine flavour. They contained so much juice that when bitten they burst with explosive squirts that were like balsamic lozenges for my sore throat. Once again the great beast reappeared, carrying another loaded tray bearing a silver-plated teapot, two clay mugs, napkins, cutlery, and a large dish dripping with honeycomb. There was nothing further for me to do except wait in anticipation of tea. Although weak, I had every intention of enjoying whatever vital calories were offered. Bruno roared with laughter as he passed by. His peal of chuckles bounced around the walls, disturbing dust from its resting place in the cave’s crannies: “Hahahihahahi! That look in your eyes tells me you’re famished. I’ll soon have you stuffed full of tasty home-grown fare.” Moving with unhurried composure, he busied himself preparing tea. Meanwhile I watched, absorbed by the ritual. Picking up a knife, he cut thick slices of baguette onto two separate wooden plates. He proceeded to dress them with olive oil mixed with grated tomatoes poured from a ceramic bowl. When drenched to his apparent satisfaction they were topped with generous quantities of cheese, then sprinkled with
oregano and placed on a grill to toast by the fire. Returning to the table, he sliced more bread onto plates and in turn daubed them with different homemade jams. Using another wooden utensil, an ample serving of orange honeycomb was dolloped into each mug onto which he poured steaming liquid from the teapot. Whiffs of grilling cheese made my taste buds salivate. I was wondering if it was too good to be true… maybe it was a weird hallucination. In the meantime, big Bruno had loaded up one of the trays and was approaching with samples of his culinary creations. “I’m not surprised you’re starving – there’s nothing but sagging skin on your bones,” he said, beaming through his bristles as he laid piles of appetizing food before me. He then tied a napkin carefully round my neck so it served as a bib. “This’ll make those drooping sideburns of yours bush out, wee fellow – now tuck in!” While he sauntered back and sat his vast frame in a chair, I was already licking dribbles of melted cheese. It had been a long time since I had enjoyed anything to compare with its rich taste. I took several bites; that hot creamy texture was complemented by a succulent tomato undercoat on top of toasted bread. The fire spat as if in envy. Next, I champed quince jelly lavishly plastered over slices of crusty baguette. Each bite seemed to surpass the previous one in sumptuous flavour. Lapping up sweet herbal brew helped wash down mouthful after mouthful, and their combination brought tingling warmth to every fibre within me. I looked up at Bruno who was scoffing another baguette heaped with a triple-decker topping of mixed fruit jams. I could not have been a pretty sight munching through every lip-smacking morsel that had been laid in front of me; however, he did not have elegant table manners either. His shadow loomed towards me, resembling that of a fiendish ogre devouring its prey, whereas in reality the creature was
just some sort of gentle giant. He tossed the last peach tartlet into open jaws before licking his plate clean, and in doing so caking his muzzle with remains of sticky condiments. After raising his mug to take a few noisy slurps, he sucked each claw; then his pink tongue set to work on cleaning out the cavities of his satisfied grin. Wiping his chin with his napkin, which would have served in normal sizes as a tablecloth, he looked me over ruefully. “You’ve had me really worried running high temperatures this past week. There I was, mopping your brow, thinking you’d be gone at any moment. All I’ve been able to sustain you with are medicinal concoctions, royal jelly and honey. What a relief not to have had to resolve that problem of where to bury you.” His words reminded me of sore swelling on my forehead along with many other pains. By contrast, it was gratifying compensation to feel how nourishment had relieved the gnawing hunger from within. “Then I owe being alive to you?” I uttered these words in little more than a whisper. “Well, that’s as maybe. Anyway you’re here speaking with the living, which’s what counts,” he replied benevolently. On draining the pot of tea into his mug, he moved over to the armchair, which he turned towards me before sitting back in comfort. The cat looked up at him, stretched, yawned and went back to sleep. Between gulps, he talked at length: “I’m Bruno the Serrano bear of Montevivo, and this is my humble home.” Continuing, he detailed my rescue along with information about where we were. Montevivo and the surrounding mountains were an environment with many resources. It was evident that he was enjoying telling me them and despite not understanding every detail, I felt growing affection towards my saviour.
When asked about my past, I tried hard to answer. Alas, his questions drew mostly confused replies. I retold moments of the storm, the dramatic escape from those wolves and then falling down the chasm. However, other matters, even my name and where I had come from, were just blank. “Hmmm… that blow to your head hasn’t just left a nasty gash and bruises, it has also resulted in concussion, causing partial amnesia.” Bruno’s diagnosis was clear. The great bear went to stoke up the fire and tossed on another chunky log for good measure; burning cinders flew up the chimney. Then he collected up our empty plates onto both trays and carried them out to where they had come from. On returning, he towered over me again and took off my food-stained bib. “I must get on with certain chores. There’ll be plenty of time to get to know one another better in due course. Now, if you feel up to it, I’ll take you outside to the river for a wash. We’ll catch sunset and you’ll find making the effort worthwhile.” “Nice idea, but you’ll have to help this poor invalid,” I answered timidly. “No sooner said than done… up, up and awaaaay,” he crooned in his baritone voice. Despite being held by powerful paws, I still gripped tightly to his ruff as we went through the archway into another cavernous room. My beast of burden walked quickly, permitting me just fleeting glimpses. For such a colossal creature who enjoyed eating, this cave-kitchen was measured to its owner’s appetite. Once again, all furnishings were made in an extra large size. However, what struck me most was a melting pot of smells confused by a powerful reek of the bear, who cradled me to his hairy chest. Fresh air came in through a tunnel at one end of the room where another burning oil lamp hung on the wall; its light glimmered up the passageway. Bruno crouched, enabling him
to ascend along this shaft without scraping his head. An open window shed daylight across a lobby area where a massive boulder blocked our exit. He laid me carefully down and then proceeded to roll this solid rock door to one side. His wellpractised technique was a demonstration of brute strength, which was performed with ease. He picked me up again; we crossed the threshold into the great outdoors. Now I found myself blinking in dazzled wonder while gasping at such beauty that only summer evenings reward. Pure refreshing air filled my lungs, oxygenating my brain and stimulating delightful feelings of having been reborn.
I was being transported down a stony slope, clinging on as tightly as wasted-away muscles allow. Once my eyes had grown accustomed to bright sunbeams, I looked back up the pathway behind us. It wiggled down from a camouflaged access, inset on the flank of a hillock which rose like a pyramid. An ancient yew tree whose gnarled trunk resembled the grey rock to which it was anchored stood on the top. Its sweeping branches sprouted in all directions, blanketing the mound in shade. Plumes of smoke were spiralling up from a burrow. Bruno ambled on, through an invasion of lush bracken, arriving at an overgrown glade where the trail levelled out and forked into three. From here onwards, the central path was marked by cartwheel tracks. It descended straight ahead through surrounding woodland. The other two paths ran in opposite directions to one another and were soon lost to view as they snaked off round the mountainside. Close by, gushing water was gargling, accompanied by an invisible orchestra of chirrup-chirrup-chirruping birdsong. We continued our descent until reaching a river. The track followed its banks under broadleaved trees, leading along grassy fringes to a forest clearing. Here the water accelerated, jumped, and tumbled down an almost vertical drop. When viewed from below, this waterfall had eroded cavities into the riverbed, forming a deep plunge-pool. Bruno placed me gently near to the water margin which continued its course, bordering a plateau with fields on our side and copsewood overgrown with blackberry brambles on the other. The river meandered on, dappled by sunshine, before disappearing over a precipice.
The broad horizon was sculptured with mountain peaks skirted in tightly-knit forest. This vegetation formed tones of green waves that swathed the sierraâ€™s steep contours. Rift valleys cloaked in shadow gave rise to jagged ridges awash with sunlight. In the far distance a mountain pass carved its way between soaring crags. From beyond this bold landmark the whole infinity skyline was tinted by rays of golden light that flooded everywhere, soaking us in its radiant embrace. Looking up behind, lofty treetops swayed in the breeze. Rising dramatically above them, a limestone pinnacle pierced into the heavenly glow. Bruno made a statement:
“Welcome to Montevivo. You could be in paradise.” While I meditated on these words, the shaggy bear let out a roar of delight as he dived into the pool. Spray sploshed over me; his huge body sank down into the transparent depths, surfacing moments later amidst more splashing. “Have a nice soak. This is pure Montevivo mineral water: it washes the body, clears the mind and cleanses the soul. It’s good fun too!” A grin of playful pleasure was added in encouragement.
Although feeling revitalized from our nutritious tea, such bracing mountain air and so much lovely sunshine, I was still too weak to follow his example of jumping in at the deep end. Nevertheless, there could be no getting away from having a much-needed wash. Mustering inner strengths, I raised myself on tottering legs and limped to the river’s edge. My reflection in the shallows gave me an unexpected start. There was an ugly cut on my brow and swelling had disfigured my face causing bloodshot eyes. Testing the stirred up waters by dabbing tentatively, I scattered teams of pond-skaters before advancing slowly to a depth that partly submerged my body. Big Bruno was wallowing under the waterfall chutes as he watched me duck into an eddy. “Lovely and fresh, isn’t it?” he shouted. Stimulating water rinsed the sleepy-dirt from both eyes, while its cool sensation eased my throbbing forehead. Letting myself go with the flow, I was suddenly sucked into rapids by the strong current. Scrabbling wildly, my legs floundered uselessly. Two strapping paws grasped my scruff and helped me clamber up the bank. Retching… I collapsed amongst the reeds. I stared forlornly at my rescuer. Bruno shook his coat vigorously, spraying showers of droplets everywhere, which caused a rainbow spectrum. Relieved to feel firm ground underfoot, I followed his example. Dripping wet coats had changed our appearance significantly, provoking us to laugh at how odd we both now looked to one another. While I lazed, looking at the kaleidoscopic sunset, Bruno went off to water his crops. He flooded a dyke at its river source by opening hefty clods of earth which acted both as gateway or dam to the water-flow. This ditch in turn served smaller irrigation channels which could direct water to different plots. Plantations nearer the precipice were sown with lower growing vegetables, while taller plants were lined behind in
ascending order of height. Around the upper perimeter of this smallholding ran terraces planted with fruit trees. These backed onto encircling forest, where the terrain became too sheer to cultivate. Bruno was now watering orderly ranks of tomatoes. Their trunks were tied to upright sticks which supported them, along with the weight of their heavy crop. Assorted varieties included fruits of varying sizes, shapes and colours. Other rows behind these tomatoes were staked with river canes which were far taller. A jungle of creepers had climbed up this trellis framework, forming matted vegetation hanging with long runner beans. Once again, troughs between each row served for irrigation, but obviously enabled access for weeding and harvesting too. Bruno reached the far side of his farmland, where an overhang of mountain served as the roof to a barn. Mature vines entwined around the structure, while their tangle of branches draped down, clustered with bunches of grapes. Parting this curtain of foliage, he disappeared through double doorsâ€Ś reappearing moments later carrying a couple of wicker baskets. He then made off, circling the fields along an elevated bank lined with fruit trees. I watched him stopping to pick peaches, plums and pears on his way. He slipped out of view, and then I heard him rounding up a flock of clucking chickens that wandered out of the forest. He drove them towards fallow land next to some large compost heaps where they could peck about without damaging any crops. Leaving his baskets next to lines of raised borders he made a varied collection of ripe vegetables. These were added to the basket of fruit until it was quite overflowing with produce. Afterwards, he lured his chickens back into the barn with a few blighted tomatoes as their reward; once they were all inside he locked up behind them. The skylineâ€™s multicolours were fading as the sun sank behind a faraway ridge. I got up and was clawing marks on
a rotting tree-trunk that straddled the river when Bruno’s cheery voice called out: “Come, wee fellow, it wouldn’t be good for you to catch cold. We must get back to the fireside before nightfall.” Bruno had finished his chores and was strolling up the river-bank towards me. In either front paw he carried a basket brimming with all those freshly picked supplies. Raised on beefy back haunches, with rippling muscles outlined under his fluffy coat, he looked a tower of strength. “Can you walk back to the den? It’s not far… or would you prefer a lift?” Since I was feeling feeble, his offer of getting quickly back was the deciding factor. “I’ll take a ride if it’s not too much bother; it’ll save my blistered feet,” I added, rather meekly, as an excuse. “Are you scared of heights? Hang on tight and you’ll be alright,” he quipped, draping me around his neck rather like a scarf. Then, with his weighty baskets in each forepaw, he strode back up through the woods. An eagle owl, who had been watching us from the bough of a sturdy oak, hooted. With swishes of its fawn wings and flicks from its fanned tail feathers, it glided off into dusk. Bruno whistled while pacing up the grassy elevation towards his home. When we arrived he set me down by the boulder that was his front door. Then he descended with both baskets into the shaft, returning moments later brandishing a sharp machete. “I’m going to cut you fresh bed litter,” he explained, in response to my worried expression. Swathes of bracken grew by the trees. While watching him scything down bundles of leafy greenery, I suddenly cocked ears to a chorus of distant howls. They came from higher up Montevivo. “Wolves are prowling; you’re better off indoors,” advised Bruno.
Tail between legs, I shuffled down the passageway; it felt safer underground. Having earlier been carried through swiftly, now was an opportunity to study the magnitude of Bruno’s cookhouse. This cave dwelling appeared to be a natural formation, with its high ceiling having large tree-roots interwoven around three skylights cut through sheer rock. There were burning oil lamps strategically hung around the walls, and in every available recess there were jars, storage barrels and clay urns of many different sizes. The dining area was occupied by a robust wooden table with bench seats on both sides. I sat down next to the baskets of harvested produce. On my near side was the scullery with a larder, and cabinets hung on the wall. Plates that we had used for tea were stacked on a draining board, adjoining a stone sink. Adjacent to this, there was a well-shaft in the floor down which a thick rope dangled. This rope was strung up to the ceiling where it ran through a pulley, which was secured to knotted tree-roots, before doubling down; its end was tied to the towel rail of a marble wash-basin. Opposite me, there was an enormous inglenook fireplace which occupied an entire flank; it was large enough to be a separate chamber, at least by my proportions. There was an inset clay oven with a cast-iron hob on top. Sculptured from the rock recesses on either side were sitting areas. An open door in the back wall accessed a woodstore. At the room’s far end between floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, there was another archway partly cloaked by drapes. I could not see where this went, but clearly the den was a lot bigger than I had previously imagined. There were loud footsteps as Bruno came striding in from outside. “I’ll soon have your new mattress made up,” he bellowed from behind a bale of mown bracken. He lumbered on into the sitting room where I heard him swishing about. The cat shot out. Hobbling through, I saw a
fierce flare-up as Bruno chucked more foliage of old bed litter onto the fire. After sweeping up what remains were left of my former bed, he laid the freshly-cut fronds to form a couch. Taking clean sheets from a built-in cupboard he spread them over this mattress and patted down the springy result. “That should do you nicely, wee fellow.” I was so overwhelmed by such kindness that words fell short as means of thanks. The bear’s friendly brown eyes stared into mine, stirring up heartfelt gratitude within me. My energy reserves found strength to give him an affectionate hug. He patted me fraternally, whereupon I sank into the welcoming folds of my newly-made bed and was enveloped by fragrances of summer ferns and wild flowers. “Now rest. You’ll feel a lot better tomorrow,” he assured me, while gently rubbing a greasy liniment on my bruised forehead. “Pleasant dreams, wee fellow…”
Special thanks to Miguel Ángel Pérez Vega – Degree in biological science / life sciences. – Doctorate in the teaching of science. With the guidance of my biologist friend Miguel Ángel, I have written a brief text to accompany photographs of virtually all the animal characters that appear in the novel. My intention is to offer readers a clear picture of each creature, its habitat requirements and, where appropriate, an overview of how threatened or in danger of extinction certain of these species are. In terms of the rarer animals’ distribution I have focused on their populations in Spain, although in some cases I have extended data to include a broader European and global view. As far as the data quoted for the Iberian Peninsula and any specific statistics are concerned, I have tried to base these on up-todate empirical studies carried out by conservation groups. However, information is often scarce and when sourced was sometimes found to vary. Therefore readers should take this information as a general guide and not as a scientific field study.
Mammals European brown bear (Ursus arctos pyrenaicus) Conservation status – With around 180 individuals living in the remote mountains of the Iberian Peninsula, this species is at critical risk of extinction. As with other “Critically Endangered” fauna; important European Union funding has been channelled through the Environment Life + Programme to reintroduce, monitor and manage these struggling populations. Numerous conservation groups (amongst them FAPAS, which was founded in 1983) have also been playing an important role in endeavouring to save the species. Habitat – Extensive mixed and deciduous broadleaved forest. Diet – Bears are omnivores. Distribution – Wild bear populations have been reduced to isolated mountainous territories in partially protected areas of the Pyrenees and Picos de Europa. These mountain ranges provide enclaves where bears can freely move about relatively undisturbed and also offer safe refuge for winter hibernation in caves. Despite protection, their main threats are loss of habitat, snares, poisoned bait and poachers.
Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) Conservation status – This feline is the most endangered wildcat in the world. Conservation experts estimate that there are around 300 roaming free in specific areas of the Iberian Peninsula. A complex breeding programme in captivity has been under way over the past decade, aimed at releasing individuals back into the wild, in an effort to save the species from extinction. Although lynxes remain on the IUCN “Critically Endangered” list of wild animals, promising results have been achieved, raising hopes for the future. Habitat – It lives in well-conserved, wooded Mediterranean scrub. Diet – Carnivore. The lynx is a nocturnal predator: rabbits constitute its main diet supplemented by other lightweight mammals, rodents and birds. Distribution – Most of the very few remaining wild lynxes are located in two separate areas of Andalusia: Sierra Morena and Doñana National Park. Rare sightings have been reported in parts of Castilla La Mancha, Extremadura and Portugal.
Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) Conservation status – Due to the degradation of its aquatic ecosystem this species is catalogued as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN. Otters are highly sensitive to the contamination of waterways by pesticides and heavy metals. Accordingly, the presence of otters along riparian boundaries is a reliable biodiversity indicator. Habitat – Mainly to be found in rivers, lakes and reservoirs although may also live around sheltered sea coves. Diet – Otters are solitary nocturnal hunters. They are agile swimmers and divers whose staple diet comprises fish along with other aquatic animals. Distribution – Europe, Asia and North Africa.
European badger (Meles meles) Conservation status – Although latterly numbers have declined in the Iberian Peninsula, they are not threatened. Habitat – Mixed and broadleaved woodland where they excavate badger sets. Diet – Omnivorous, including: worms, insects, reptiles, small rodents, grubs, bulbs, roots and fruit. Distribution – Europe and parts of Asia.
Black rat (Rattus rattus) Conservation status – The future of this species has no survival problems. Habitat – Easily adapts to any type of environment, such as farmland, rubbish tips, cities and wherever else food can be scavenged. Diet – Omnivore. Distribution – Its prolific breeding capacity, omnivorous diet, ability to adapt, and hardy constitution have enabled it to colonize practically every part of the world where humans have settled. It lives in social groups that vary in numbers.
Pine marten (Martes martes) Conservation status – It is not a threatened species. Habitat – Coniferous and beech forests. Diet – Omnivore; mainly preys on small mammals, birds, insects and reptiles, supplementing its diet with forest fruits, seeds and birds’ eggs. Distribution – Limited to the northern strip of the Iberian Peninsula. Also found in most of Europe.
Stoat (Mustela erminea) Conservation status – It is not a threatened species. Habitat – Woods and open countryside. Diet – Carnivore; typically hunting rodents and rabbits in their burrows. Distribution – Most of Europe, Asia and North America.
Wild boar (Sus scrofa scrofa) Conservation status – No risk of extinction. The domestic pig is descended from wild boar. Habitat – Woods and scrubland. Diet – Omnivorous scavenger that will eat almost anything: predominantly forest fruits, acorns, berries, roots, tubers, carrion, grubs and insects. Distribution – Ranges across most of Europe and Asia.
Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
The red fox can be found in suburbs and woods throughout Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. It is not at risk due to a versatile ability to adapt its habits and omnivorous diet in a rapidly changing world.
Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) Conservation status – A “Critically Endangered” species in Andalusia and, where not extinct, considered “Vulnerable” elsewhere in the Iberian Peninsula. Its estimated population is between 1,500 – 2,000, a figure some way above 600 which marks the “Critical” (IUCN Red List) limit of an endangered species. Empirical figures are hard to come by, however with possibly fewer than 750 breeding adults, the Iberian wolf’s future remains in the balance. Habitat – As a general overview, the Iberian wolf is restricted to mountainous woods, heaths, and scrublands of natural game reserves. In the Sierra de la Culebra in Zamora, subject to authorization, it can still be legally hunted. The difficulty that sheep farmers have in receiving compensation from local authorities for losses in their flocks means that the age-old persecution of wolves continues. Hence uncontrolled hunting, snares and poisoned bait, along with the destruction of its natural habitat are the principal reasons for its decline. Diet – Carnivore. Fundamental in controlling the excessive numbers of ungulate species such as wild boar and deer. Distribution – Around 90% of the population is localized in the north east of the Peninsula where sustainable hunting of wolves is supposedly regulated. In Andalusia, the uncertain numbers that exist in Sierra Morena are a protected species. 303
Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) Conservation status – While not threatened, it is catalogued as “Vulnerable”. Habitat – Lives and nests in coniferous and broadleaved woods.
Diet – Pine nuts, acorns and beach nuts supplemented by forest fruits, fungi, berries and bulbs. Distribution – Found in central and southern Europe extending as far south as Andalusia.
European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) Conservation status – This was one of the Iberian Peninsula’s most common mammals, however there has been a drastic decline in its numbers since the 1950s due to disease (Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease). This keystone species is fundamental to the survival of the lynx, the imperial eagle and other predators.
Habitat – Prefers a mixed habitat of prairies, copses and hedgerows. Diet – Herbivore: mainly grazing grass, leafy plants and seasonal flowers. Distribution – Rabbits are an autochthonous species in the Iberian Peninsula and have been introduced to practically the rest of Europe.
Water vole (Arvicola amphibius) Conservation status – Until recent times it was relatively common, however due to the degradation of the aquatic ecosystem there has been a reduction in their numbers. Habitat – This semi-aquatic rodent lives by rivers, streams and irrigation canals which provide a slow, constant flow of water. Also found around lakes, ponds and coastal areas. Diet – Herbivore; mainly riparian vegetation. Distribution – Spread across most of Europe.
Dormouse (Gliridae) There are many subspecies of this charismatic animal that live in mixed woodland habitats across Europe and Asia Minor with the garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) being probably the most common. They are widely recognized as being a highly sensitive biomonitor so their presence is indicative of biodiversity. For the present it has a viable future, however overuse of pesticides has meant a decline in its numbers in certain intensively farmed areas. Its diet is omnivorous, based around seasonal flowers, seeds, fruits and invertebrates. Occasionally it will catch larger prey such as baby voles or newly hatched birds. 305
European brown hare (Lepus europaeus) Conservation status – Despite suffering a decline in numbers, caused by extensive modern farming techniques, it remains widespread. This is not the case of the Broom hare (Lepus castroviejoi pictured in the photograph) which is a rare species – classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN – endemic to a limited area of the north west of Spain. Habitat – Lives primarily around open farmland and pasture that borders hedgerows and woods. Diet – Herbivore: predominantly grass, leafy shoots and plants. Distribution – Populates cultivated areas of Europe and the Middle East as far as Asia.
European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) Conservation status – This species is not considered to be threatened, however the contrary may be said of the North African hedgehog which can still be found in a few regions of Spain. Habitat – Woods, spinneys and hedgerows which also includes parks and gardens. Diet – Mainly insectivorous: predominantly worms, insects, slugs, grubs and berries. Tiny rodents, frogs and ground nesting birds’ eggs may also be consumed. Distribution – Found across most of Europe.
Red deer (Cervus elaphus) This great herbivore ranges across the mountains, and heaths of Spain and much of Europe. The females live together in herds rearing their young, while the males tend to be solitary. Adult males shed their old antlers and, if they are healthy, grow more spectacular ones each year. They then joust against each other in autumn with the winners earning mating rights over females. Because their main predators have disappeared, their high numbers often need to be controlled by culling and licensed shooting.
Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica) Conservation status – Despite suffering an epidemic of mange in the 1980s (which decimated their numbers) it is not threatened and remains amongst the most prized species for hunting in the Iberian Peninsula. Habitat – Highland woods, scrubland and mountains. Diet – Herbivore. Distribution – Scattered around the Peninsula in mountainous regions. Noteworthy populations can be found in the sierras of Andalusia.
European mouflon (Ovis orientalis musimon) Originally inhabiting Corsica, this subspecies of the wild sheep was introduced to the Iberian Peninsula and other parts of Europe. Being a rugged herbivore, it adapted well to the mountainous regions of the mainland and nowadays has stable populations in numerous National Parks. As with the Spanish ibex, the adult males’ impressive horns make it a sought-after hunting trophy.
Common mole (Talpa europaea)
The different subspecies of mole (Talpidae family) are difficult to identify. There are three very similar types in Europe of which the common mole (Talpa europaea) is the most widespread. Habitat – Moles live in underground tunnels and galleries which they dig in meadows, parks and gardens. Diet – Predominantly earthworms and grubs. Distribution – Extends over most of Europe excluding the southern and northern tips of the continent.
Genet (Genetta genetta) The genet is related to the mongoose. It is found in parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, usually preferring dense woodland habitat. This agile creature is an excellent climber and can squeeze through any hole that its head can fit through. Although considered to be omnivorous it prefers eating animal over plant matter and generally hunts at night, preying on small birds, bats, rodents and insects. The presence of this creature in forested areas is a good measure of biodiversity. Its population while not extensive is stable.
Wildcat (Felis silvestris) Wildcat kitten
The wildcat is an ancestor of the domestic cat and crossbreeding has long been common. In its appearance the European species is similar to the typical domestic tabby cat, albeit slightly larger and with better night vision. There are different subspecies found across its range through Europe, Asia and Africa. The European variety can be found living in woodland and mountainous areas where it makes its den in the hollows of old trees or fissures in the rocks. It is a voracious hunter and in particular stalks waterfowl, small birds, rodents, rabbits and hares. The IUCN Red List considers the species to be declining, nevertheless it is categorized as â€œLeast Concernâ€?.
Greater noctule bat (Nyctalus lasiopterus) This is Europe’s largest bat with a wingspan of up to 460mm. Conservation status – “Near Threatened” in Europe according to the IUCN Red List. More information is needed on population size, trends and potential threats. Habitat – Prefers wooded river valleys where it roosts within old trees or buildings. Diet – Mainly insectivorous but will also prey on lightweight birds. Distribution – Low density patches through central and southern Europe, parts of Asia and North Africa.
Lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) This bat takes its name from the shape of its nose. It is one of the smallest bats in the world with a wingspan of less than 255mm. It can be found in south west England, Wales, parts of Ireland, across central and southern Europe and in certain territories of North Africa, the Middle East and reduced areas of Asia. They inhabit wooded foothills where they feed on insects and generally roost in caves or old buildings. This species is in decline due to the loss of suitable habitat and the widespread use of pesticides in agriculture. 310
BIRDS Iberian imperial eagle or Adalbert’s eagle (Aquila adalberti) Conservation status – Considered one of the most endangered birds of prey in the world, it is only found in specific south western territories of the Iberian Peninsula. Like so many other large raptors, its numbers have been decimated by unwittingly consuming poisoned bait and electrocution from colliding with high voltage power cables. Habitat fragmentation as a result of human activity has also had a negative impact on numbers. There are an estimated 200 breeding pairs in Spain and their future, as with all “Critically Endangered” species, depends on active conservation management. Habitat – Mediterranean alluvial plains and marshes, hills and high slopes with wooded scrubland, where it favours big, mature trees for nesting. Diet – Rabbits constitute its favoured prey. Distribution – Sierras of Extremadura, National Parks of Cabañeros and Doñana, and Sierra Morena. Juvenile imperial eagle
Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos homeyeri) Conservation status – This majestic bird of prey is catalogued as “Vulnerable”. Reduction in suitable habitat and indiscriminate theft of its eggs when nesting are its most serious problems. Habitat – Mountains and steppes. Diet – Mainly rabbits, hares and other small mammals and birds. Distribution – The Iberian subspecies is smaller than the northern European Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos chrysaetos). It is found across the Iberian Peninsula, the south of France, and parts of North Africa.
Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) Conservation status – This small vulture is considered “Vulnerable” within its European range. Strict monitoring and feeding sites are required to guarantee its future. Its population is more extensive in Africa and Asia, however numbers are declining in these areas too. It faces the same problems as most other birds of prey, namely, the indiscriminate use of poisons to eradicate so-called vermin that then gets into the food chain; electrocution, theft of its eggs, forest fires, illegal shooting, and the loss of suitable habitat for breeding. Habitat – It typically nests in mountainous gorges on high cliff-faces. Diet – Like all vultures, its diet is based around carrion although may also include organic waste, young vertebrates and birds´ eggs.
Lammergeier or Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) Conservation status – This enormous vulture, whose wingspan can reach over 2.8m, is in danger of extinction in most of its few European enclaves. Its main European population is in the Pyrenees. The species became extinct in Andalusia in the mid 1980s although a complex programme of breeding in captivity is under way to reintroduce the species back into the Sierras of Cazorla, Segura and Castril (www. gypaetus.org). Electrocution, illegal shooting by hunters and eating poisoned animals are its main threat. Habitat – Exclusively limited to mountainous areas where it nests on inaccessible cliff edges. Each breeding pair rears one chick, however the death rate is high. Diet – Scavenges bones from the corpses of large mammals which it then drops from a great height with extraordinary precision. The splintered bones are then eaten. This habit is unique amongst birds. Distribution – Pyrenees, Corsica, Crete, regions of Africa and Asia. Reintroduced into specific areas of eastern Andalusia and also the Austrian Alps.
Cinereous vulture or Black vulture (Aegypius monachus) Conservation status – This is the Iberian Peninsula’s largest bird with a wingspan of over 3m. The Spanish population is estimated at around 1,400 breeding pairs, which constitutes almost the entire European population. It is catalogued as a “Threatened Species” in Andalusia and “Vulnerable” in the few other areas of Spain where it can be found. Poisoned bait, scavenging carcasses laced with toxins from lead shot, and electrocution are often the causes of unnatural deaths. Forest fires and human encroachment on its habitat are also a serious threat, as these birds are known to abandon their nest if they feel intimidated. Habitat – Mediterranean wooded scrubland and mountainous areas, where it nests in the upper branches of large trees. Diet – Usually amongst the first scavengers to arrive at a carcass; it eats flesh and meat in preference to offal. Distribution – Found over the central / eastern highlands and plains of the Iberian Peninsula including Andalusia, with a minor population in the mountains of Mallorca. A reintroduction project in the Catalan Pyrenees hopes to link Iberian and French populations. This would in turn increase genetic variability.
Eurasian griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) Conservation status – This great bird is considered to be out of danger but nevertheless occupies a status of “Special Interest”. Needless to say it faces the same threats as all other birds of prey. It nests on rocky ledges in mountainous areas where it uses the thermals for soaring over a large territory to scavenge for carrion, including dead livestock and other ungulate mammals. Its main European populations, over 85%, are found in Spain, with lower density enclaves in a few other Mediterranean countries. Outside Europe the species can be found in North Africa and parts of Asia.
Tawny owl (Strix aluco sylvatica) Conservation status – Not threatened. Habitat – Woods, spinneys and mature urban parkland with water close by. Diet – Hunts small birds, bats, rodents and insects. Distribution – Excluding the northern tip of the continent, it is widespread across Europe and can also be found in parts of Asia.
Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo) Conservation status – This species is vulnerable to a reduction in its natural habitat and unwittingly consuming poisoned bait. These are two factors which have taken their toll on the eagle owl population. Habitat – Mixed woodland and steppes, preferring open countryside for hunting. Diet – The lord of the night is a powerful raptor, hunting rabbits, hares, rodents, and many types of woodland birds. Its owl pellets are testament to the fact that occasionally it preys on hedgehogs and fawns as well as juvenile foxes, genets and pine martens. Distribution – Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Eurasian scops owls (Otus scops) Conservation status – This is the smallest nocturnal raptor in the Iberian Peninsula. It is not threatened, although latter day censuses have detected a significant decline in numbers, which give rise for concern. Habitat – Woods, agricultural / pastoral landscape and parkland. Many fly south to winter over in sub-Saharan Africa. Diet – A staple diet of worms, small lizards and insects makes it susceptible to pesticides. Distribution – Southern and eastern Europe, North Africa and Asia. 316
Black stork (Ciconia nigra) Conservation status – Numbers have been dwindling since the 1960s and it is now catalogued as a “Critically Endangered” species within Spain. Sensitive conservation management is fundamental to saving this bird from further decline. Habitat – Usually nests in large trees near to areas of water such as lakes, marshes and rice fields. Diet – Fish, reptiles, large insects and amphibious creatures including river crabs. Distribution – Small resident year-round population in the south and south east of the Iberian Peninsula. Migrating summer populations are found in certain other European countries. Its global winter migratory range includes tropical parts of Africa and Asia. There is also a resident population in South Africa.
White stork (Ciconia ciconia) Conservation status – The population size is large, hence this bird does not approach the threshold for being classified as “Vulnerable”. Despite these positive figures, death from electrocution, poisoned bait, and contact with pesticides take their toll on overall numbers. Habitat – These storks make their nests in big trees near to water, although they are often found nesting on spires and towers in towns surrounded by farmland or pastures. Diet – It has a varied diet based around little rodents, juvenile amphibians, fish and insects. Distribution – Warm and dry regions of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It generally migrates in the winter to sub-Saharan Africa or temperate parts of Asia.
Greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) Conservation status – While the most common of all flamingo species, it is nevertheless considered bordering “Vulnerable” status in certain areas of its range. Habitat – It congregates in salt lakes and lagoons feeding on aquatic organisms. Its peculiar shaped bill rakes along the lakebed filtering edible shrimp and algae from the water. Distribution – It breeds in many tropical and sub-tropical coastal regions worldwide including North, Central and South America, Africa, Turkey and Asia. In Europe it is found in Sardinia, Albania, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, and the Camargue region of France. In Andalusia, there are important breeding colonies in Doñana National Park and Fuente de Piedra lagoon.
Grey heron (Ardea cinerea) Conservation status – With a widespread and numerous population, the grey heron is not threatened. That said, numbers have been directly affected by a progressive loss of marshland and flood plains, which are amongst its principal habitat. Diet – Its diet consists predominantly of fish, amphibians and aquatic insects. Distribution – Being a migratory bird, it can be found across Europe, Asia and Africa.
Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) Conservation status – While stable in territories spread across eastern and central Europe, the Cantabrian subspecies (Tetrao urogallus cantabricus) is in “Critical Danger of Extinction”. After the last ice age it had disappeared from most of the Iberian Peninsula leaving two isolated enclaves in northern Spain. Its population is estimated at around 600. Efforts to repopulate this protected species have, as yet, met with little success. Habitat – Coniferous and mixed woodland with undergrowth, clearings and near water. They nest on the ground, whereby eggs and hatchlings are often eaten by predatory mammals such as foxes or wild boar. Illegal egg collectors are also responsible for the decline in numbers. Diet – Fresh green shoots, forest fruits, small reptiles and insect larvae. Distribution – The loss of its natural habitat has reduced it to localized areas within the Picos de Europa and parts of the Pyrenees.
European magpie (Pica pica) The magpie has adapted well to the changing landscape of the last century. It is an omnivorous bird that ranges across Europe, Asia and parts of Africa, where it can be seen across a great variety of habitats, favouring farmland and pastures with scattered woods.
AMPHIBIANS European toad (Bufo bufo) Conservation status – The common toad abounds across Europe. Due to its resistance to low-level contamination in waterways, its breeding has remained relatively unaffected compared to other more delicate species. Habitat – Found from sea-level up to mountainous areas in and around slow-moving or still water. Diet – Its tadpoles eat aquatic larva and plankton. The adults’ diet is based around insects, snails, slugs and other invertebrates.
Iberian green frog (Pelophylax perezi) This semi-aquatic frog inhabits a wide variety of flowing and stagnant water habitats in the Iberian Peninsula. It feeds on insects, spiders, small fish and other amphibians, and hibernates in winter. As is so often the case, numbers have declined drastically in areas where chemicals, heavy metals and pesticides have contaminated waterways.
Stripeless tree frog (Hyla meridionalis) This is not a threatened species although loss of breeding habitat is creating isolated populations. It is found scattered across parts of southern Europe, living in wooded hinterland near to fresh water. As with all frogs, it depends on water to spawn and eats small invertebrates.
My gratitude goes to all those wildlife photographers who gave permission to use their beautiful photographs. In particular I would like to thank Antonio Vázquez and Juan Carlos Poveda Vera. Photographic copyright belongs to the following photographers, with all rights subject to authorized permission.
© Antonio Vázquez: Page 298 – European brown bear. Page 299 – Iberian lynx. Page 300 (top) – Eurasian otter. Page 300 (bottom) – European badger. Page 302 (top) – Stoat. Page 302 (middle) – Wild boar. Page 303 – Iberian wolf. Page 306 (top) – Broom hare. Page 308 (bottom) – Common mole. Page 309 (top) – Genet. Page 309 (bottom) – Wildcat. Page 310 (bottom) – Lesser horseshoe bat. Page 313 – Lammergeier. Page 315 (bottom) – Tawny owl.
© Juan Carlos Poveda Vera: Page 304 (bottom) – European rabbit. Page 305 (top) – Water vole. Page 307 (top) – Red deer. Page 307 (bottom) – Spanish ibex. Page 308 (top) – European mouflon. Page 311 – Imperial eagle. Page 314 – Black vulture. Page 315 (top) – Eurasian griffon vulture. Page 316 (top) – Eurasian eagle owl. Page 317 (bottom) – White stork. Page 316 (bottom) – Eurasian scops owl. Page 317 (top) – Black stork. Page 318 (top) – Greater flamingo. Page 318 (bottom) – Grey heron.
© Javier Robres: Page 319 (top) – Capercaillie.
© Antonio Rodríguez: Page 301 (top) – Black rat. Page 301 (bottom) – Pine marten. Page 306 (bottom) – European hedgehog. Page 320 (bottom) – Stripeless tree frog.
© Mayte Samblas: Page 304 (top) – Eurasian red squirrel. Page 312 (bottom) – Egyptian vulture.
© Edeuardo Nogüeras Ocaña: Page 312 (top) – Golden Eagle. Page 319 (bottom) – European magpie.
© Carlos Dorado: Page 305 (bottom) – Dormouse.
© Jan Buys: Page 310 (top) – Greater noctule bat.
© Seamus Shortt: Page 302 (bottom) – Red fox. Page 320 (top) – European toad. Page 320 (middle) – Iberian green frog.
The following sources were used to compile a profile on each animal species in the glossary: Atlas y Libro Rojo de los mamíferos de España (Atlas and Red Book of land mammals in Spain). http://www.magrama.gob.es/es/biodiversidad/temas/inventarios-nacionales/inventario-especies-terrestres/inventario-nacional-de-biodiversidad/index2010-11-12_188.8.131.5269. aspx Libro Rojo de las Aves de España (Red Book of the birds of Spain). http://www.magrama.gob.es/es/biodiversidad/temas/inventariosnacionales/LR_completo_para_web_tcm7-164856.pdf With regard to the flamingo – Guía de campo del Parque Nacional de Doñana (Countryside guide to Doñana National Park) by Juan Antonio Fernández. Ed. Omega, 1982. Atlas y Libro rojo de los Anfibios y Reptiles de España (Atlas and Red Book of the Amphibians and Reptiles of Spain). http://www.magrama.gob.es/es/biodiversidad/temas/inventarios-nacionales/cap_0_ tcm7-21404.pdf Guía de campo de los anfibios y reptiles de la Península Ibérica (Countryside guide of amphibians and reptiles of the Iberian Peninsula), by Javier Andrada. Ed. Omega, 1985.
The following websites were sourced to try and establish the actual 2013 conservation status (in particular with regard to Spain) of each animal in the glossary: For detailed information on wildlife status and species distribution worldwide, link to IUCN 2012. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. www.iucnredlist.org For data concerning the Iberian lynx: www.lynxexsitu.es www.lifelince.org www.lifelince.org/public/GGGCC_38.pdf www.lifelince.org/public/2010_Estima_Donana_fototrampeo_Garrote.pdf (in English) www.vertebradosibericos.org/mamiferos/lynpar.html For information on bears in Spain: www.fapas.es For data on birds in Spain: http://www.birdlife.org/worldwide/national/spain/ www.seo.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Libro_Rojo_Aves.pdf For information on wolves in Spain: www.loboiberico.com www.carlossanzamigolobo.com For information on the project to reintroduce the lammergeier back into Sierras of Andalusia: www.gypaetus.org For information on the project to reintroduce the black vulture back into the Pyrenees: http://en.blackvulture-pyrenees.org/reintroduction-project
Foremost, Montevivo’s motto “We Will” is a rallying cry for determined action with a definite objective: Make a gesture, a donation or a pledge in order to help some wildlife conservation projects, and together we will save Earth’s natural heritage for the future benefit of all. Obviously there are many dedicated environmental societies operating worldwide. If you are not already involved in any, then below is a short list of active organizations that you may want to contact. However, remember that there is nothing like actively participating in conservation projects set up near you or creating a new one if the need is there. Act locally – network globally, makes a great deal of sense.
Environmental Groups (Listed in alphabetical order): Earth Island Institute www.earthisland.org Friends of the Earth www.foe.org Fundación Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente www.felixrodriguezdelafuente.com Greenpeace www.greenpeace.org Rainforest Action Network www.ran.org Seo/Birdlife www.seo.org Sierra Club Foundation www.sierraclubfoundation.org The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds www.rspb.org.uk The Wild Foundation www.wild.org Wildlife Conservation Society www.wcs.org World Land Trust www.worldlandtrust.org World Wildlife Fund www.worldwildlife.org