Beaver safari in Fyrisån

A beaver right ahead.

This summer Biotopia in Uppsala is offering beaver safaris in Fyrisån.

I had the first group out this Wednesday and we had several great observations. We had one beaver following our kayaks for about 30 minutes as we made our way downstream. Later on in the evening, some even got to see a beaver as close as one meter away!

In the video below you can see a beaver swimming just a few meters to the left, from the tour on Wednesday.

There are another two chances to join these safaris on 8 August and 15 August.

It is now time for me to grab a summer break. See you in August!

 

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Field work and EAZA Conservation Forum 2018

One day I had the privilege of biking out to the nature reserve Nåsten to measure wildlife foraging on trees.

June! It’s summer! And it has been another two months since the last update. What has been going on since? Read on to see.

Kicking off May I did a scat survey in north-eastern Uppland looking mainly at moose, roe deer, wild boar and hare. While out working one day I was lucky enough to have a rare Eurasian lynx go up to my car while I was having a break. The cat stopped to sniff the car just two meters from where I was sitting. It was one of the most amazing wildlife moments I have had (sorry, pictures will have to be saved for a future project, hehe).

Tallinn Zoo, where the EAZA Conservation Forum 2018 was hosted, has a reintroduction project for the European mink, a species that has disappeared from large areas of its former range. Here they show the breeding facility.

After finishing off the scat census I then went on to work with moose foraging on trees. I did this for a couple of weeks in western Uppsala county. Logging companies are interesting in measuring this since, in their view, the trees are damaged by wildlife, causing an economic burden. Moose, especially, like to forage on Scots pine trees. Spruce trees are generally left alone, and this is why most companies nowadays plant pine trees.

Jörg Freyhof talks freshwater conservation at the EAZA Conservation Forum 2018. It is of certain interest since freshwater species are declining faster than most other groups.

Also worth noting is that this May was the warmest recorded in many places since the readings began in Sweden. Some places had more than two degrees Celsius above the previously warmest record. Global warming is tightening its grip on the world, leading to more extreme weather. While there can be some “positive” effects of this for countries such as Sweden – more productive agriculture for example – for the vast majority of countries it will lead to a worsening situation for both biodiversity and agriculture, and, thus, people. Consequently, May was also one of the driest months in Sweden, causing problems for many farmers, possibly negating the potential for higher yields.

At the end of May I traveled to Estonia to participate in the EAZA Conservation Forum. Exerts from around the world talked animals, projects and conservation. While biodiversity is generally a depressing field since it is mostly going down-hill, there were some positives notes and I came back with a lot of good ideas. I wish to thank Svenska Journalistförbundet for the generous grant allowing me to participate in the forum.

Out working in the field one day I came across the largest Scots pine tree I have ever seen. It measured 390 centimeters around the stem. Sweden has almost no old pine trees left since it has been ravaged by intensive logging. All pine trees are cut down between the ages of 60-100 years, while the trees can actually live for many hundreds of years.

On Wednesday I will have a guided tour searching for beavers in Fyrisån in Uppsala, organized by Biotopia. You can see more and sign up here. There will also be another couple of chances for this in August. Then as this week comes to a close it is time for a summer break.