On Tuesday 1 October Svenska Rovdjursföreningen (the Swedish Carnivore Association) arranges a lecture with well-known zoologist Sverre Sjölander in Uppsala. The question that Sverre Sjölander looks to answer is “Who owns the wild animals?”. The lecture is in Swedish and free of cost. Come to see me there.
For the past week I have been out working with otters in the county of Värmland. This is an annual census which we have been doing since 2002. The otter was previously in quite a severe situation mostly due to toxins and hunting and is now recovering.
This census is a cooperation between Länsstyrelsen i Värmland and Klarälvdalens folkhögskola. While it is a very thorough census, it is also a chance to practice practical survey techniques for the students of Natur- och faunavårdslinjen.
We are primarily looking for signs as in scats and pugmarks in sand or mud. The otter lives mostly off fish and hunts in rivers and lakes. While not defending territories they have what we call home ranges. While moving around its home range an otter will frequently go up on strategic locations and place a dropping there as a signal to other otters and as a way of communicating. The smell of these scats is quite unique and they smell almost sweet. This is what sets them apart from other similar droppings from mink and marten. Normally they also contain remains of fish.
Strategic locations to search are bridges over waterways and piers with rocks underneath on lakes. Otters prefer to place their scats on locations with overhang and preferably on rocks.
We were interviewed by both Nya Wermlands-Tidningen and Värmlands Folkblad. NWT published an article on 2013-09-20 and VF on 2013-09-21 and the latter was on the front page.
It is interesting how perspectives change. Before I got my drivers license I travelled everywhere by foot or by bike. I remember exploring areas near Stöllet and it took many hours to go to where I was going. As I got my license and car and started working all over Sweden the world has shrunk and the adventures of exploring have faded. It is a shame. The smaller adventures by foot are greater than those experienced on automated wheels.
I came back home yesterday after an interesting trip to Germany. I visited Freiburg to see what makes the city green. A lot of solar power throughout the city as well as great greenery – even some bridges were covered in green – were things that impressed me. Trams for transportation, and some parts entirely free of cars were others.
Taking a one-day trip to Strasbourg in France I had a look at the European Union Parliament where the plenary sessions are held once a month. A lot of important decisions are taken within these walls. Last up to join the European Union is Croatia, which joined in July 2013.
After Freiburg and Strasbourg I visited Berlin and I saw the vegan athlete Patrik Baboumian score another Guinness world record lifting and walking ten meters with 555 kilograms on his shoulders. Some people claim that you do not get sufficient protein from a vegan diet, something that Patrik, being Germany’s strongest man, would possibly dismiss.