Biotopia and Natursidan.se have release two videos with me on how to identify lynx and wolf tracks. The videos are in Swedish and you can watch them in the links below.
In the latest issue of Våra Rovdjur (nr 4/2016), you can read my article about border fencing and how it affects wildlife, and large carnivores in particular. The article is based on interviews with Mae Isaksson, who lives near the border fence in Croatia, and John Linnell at NINA in Norway.
Also, in the previous issue (nr 3/2016), there is an article about the Persian leopard, which is being reintroduced to Europe. This article is based on interviews with José Ferreira at Lisbon Zoo and Ewa Wikberg at Nordens Ark.
For 21 days straight we have been trying to collar jaguars and pumas in Caatinga in eastern Brazil. Luck was not on our side this time. This has led to a change of plans in the expedition.
I am right now on my way out of Brazil after having spent more than five weeks here preparing for the capture campaign, taking pictures, preparing my study and – most importantly – we have been trying to collar jaguars and pumas here.
Together with team leader Claudia and the two experienced veterinarians Joares and Carlão, as well as Douglas, Neto and Ismael from Programa Amigos da Onça, we have been setting snares to collar the cats.
We worked in the vast area that is Boqueirão da Onça – a wild area of more than 8 000 km². The area is dry, thorny and dense. We have had temperatures of between 35-40 degrees Celsius for most days. Luckily the dry air makes the heat feel less intense.
In preparing the field campaign we had to bring nearly a ton of water out to the field camp, and food for seven people for a month. The capturing campaign has also been preceded by extensive work with camera traps especially over the past year by Claudia and her team, in order to see where the animals move.
Since the jaguar population in the area is sparse, you have to be a bit lucky even with all these preparations. We did see tracks of jaguar just a couple of days before we put out the first snares. Then after that – quiet.
Luckily, there will be another capturing campaign in November, followed by another one in the first half of next year. If everything goes according to plan, the team should be able to collar the first jaguars in Boqueirão da Onça leading us to greater knowledge and very important tools for conserving the animals in this environment.
The change in plans mean that I will return here to Brazil in the first half of 2017 to continue the work once the team has successfully collared at least one cat.
Meanwhile, I have been very happy to see that the crowdfunding campaign has received full funding! I wish to thank everybody that has helped out and I am looking forward to making this important work happen in 2017! Thank you once again!
And also, thank you very much for this time, Brazil, and see you soon.
In less than a month I will travel to Brazil to study the jaguar and puma in a new project where we are putting collars on the cats. I will study the diet of the cats and especially see how much they predate on livestock. This expedition will be both a great adventure, very good for the conservation of these magnificent animals and my hope is that it will also help the local people.
I have some practical expenses for the project and I would really appreciate if you would help me, or spread the word of the project by sharing this link.
For a while now you can see our photo exhibition on snow leopards at Biotopia in Uppsala. Please stop by to have a look if you happen to be passing by. The museum is definitely worth a visit with its interactive exhibitions on wildlife and nature. Entering is free.
You can read about the Scottish wildcat in the latest issue of Våra Rovdjur that was due just a few days ago. I have interviewed Dr. Andrew Kitchener of the National Museums Scotland and the IUCN Cat Specialist Group. You also get to follow me into an enclosure where they keep this angry little cat and learn about its problems with feral domestic cats as well as what is being done to save it from extinction.
The article is in Swedish. Reference: Borling, J 2016, Skottlands egen vildkatt räddas, Våra Rovdjur, nr2/2016, pp. 16-18.
I will hold a talk on snow leopards and the adventures with this cat on 4 February. The talk is at 18:00 in Naturum Värmland in Karlstad, western Sweden. The talk is in Swedish and costs 60 kr. It is open to the public and you are very welcome to come and listen!
Please click here for more information: http://www.mariebergsskogen.se/bildpuff/foredrag/
We were very happy to see that yesterday the snow leopard book more or less had the leading role in the Swedish Children’s Channel show Mysteria. The episode is about a djinni – a type of desert spirit with supernatural powers – that hide from wizards by turning into a snow leopard book.
You can see the episode here, in Swedish (the part about Snöleopard is between 19:00 och 26:30):
Today, Swedish media company Mittmedia’s newspapers – including Dalarnas Tidningar, Gefle Dagblad, Sundsvalls Tidning and others – publish the first program in the new season of Vildriket, where I have the role of “the professor” talking about fascinating things in nature.
The program will be running weekly in the winter season. In the first program, I talk about when I saw snow leopards in the Himalaya.
Please see this link (in Swedish):
2015 was a great year with many adventures in many countries, including Brazil, Chile, Croatia, United Kingdom and The Netherlands. I did field work, writing, lecturing and a lot more. Many species are going to go extinct soon and it is time that we start thinking of how to save our planet. My work primarily revolved around this issue. Here is an attempt to round up the year of 2015.
We (myself and Jan Fleischmann) released the snow leopard book in Swedish in October of 2014. At the same time, 2015 was named the International Snow Leopard Year by the Bishkek Declaration, with the idea of bringing extra attention to the needs of this cat. We spent a large part of 2015 promoting the cat and the book. I appeared on Sweden’s national television programme “En bok, en författare”, talking about snow leopards. We held several lectures about snow leopards across the country and also had two photo exhibitions, in Rovdjurscentret De 5 Stora and Naturum Värmland. It was also great seeing the snow leopard book so well received with many positive reviews appearing throughout the year.
The big field season commenced on 30 March and I did field work with moose for nearly three months. This work spanned most of Sweden, from Halland in the south to Västerbotten in the north. I saw roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), moose (Alces alces), capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), black grouse (Tetrao tetrix), wild boar (Sus scrofa), European viper (Vipera berus), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), brown bear (Ursus arctos) and much more. It was a very cold census with temperatures between 3-7 degrees Celsius in May. I had one field day in the coldest place in Sweden, Börtnan, although by then it was already warmer. Working near Sweden’s alpine mountains (Skanderna), I climbed one of them late one night in June. Going up on an alpine mountain always give me such a feeling of freedom.
In between field work I went to London in the United Kingdom with my snow leopard co-author Jan. We attended the London Book Fair to discuss international publication of the snow leopard book. It was nice being back in London since I had not been there since 2009. Just as the last time I went there, I did not have much time exploring the city, though.
Following this intense period of field work I had two days off and then headed to Sweden’s largest island, Gotland. I was there to study rhetoric for two weeks. The main (and only) city in Gotland, Visby, is an ancient city with a medieval wall that was starting to be constructed more than 900 years ago. It is still surprisingly intact and the inner city is a UNESCO World Heritage.
Coming home from Gotland I had six days off until the next trip. This time I flew to Croatia to attend the symposium Animal Populations – World Resources and Animal Welfare by UFAW. It was well organized, highly interesting and I can recommend anyone going to this symposium.
After the symposium was over I went to Istria in western Croatia to visit my friend Mae who runs a shelter for homeless animals. The situation for animals is not good in Croatia and Mae, together with her husband Benny, help save dogs and cats on a daily basis with very limited resources. All in all, Croatia is a beautiful country and the people are very friendly. I hope that I can return there.
As a treat I had scheduled a full day in Amsterdam in The Netherlands on the way home. I spent the day strolling the various canals of the city and trying out a good vegetarian restaurant with international theme. Amsterdam is a beautiful city, although I was a bit tired from all the long travels.
Coming home by the end of July I had been out almost contiuously for nearly four months. I was in dire need of doing nothing for a while and it was good to disconnect. I lead a group of nature students doing an otter census in Värmland in September. This census, which we have done annually since 2002, is a nice treat. Me and Jan Fleischmann also participated in the Gothenburg Book Fair which is the largest in Sweden, holding several talks there. Meanwhile, I was preparing for the next expedition: South America.
I arrived in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on 7 October. It is a beautiful city with high hills and a big nature reserve inside the actual city. The beaches are internationally famous (Ipanema and Copacabana) and the Jesus statue is another symbol of the city which is widely recognized. I enjoyed Rio a lot and together with newfound friends attended the first vegan fair of the city, out by the beach in Niteroi. There were a lot of good things to try there there. I only wish I had been hungrier.
Next up was the Pantanal – the world’s biggest floodland – where I stayed for several weeks. I visited a jaguar project there and met several interesting people. I also saw jaguar, ocelot and puma in the wild. In between visits to the Pantanal I also visited a jaguar conservation project in north-eastern Brazil, run by Claudia Campos and her team. She was kind enough to show me the whole area for almost a week, which was really interesting and a very nice experience. The people living in this region are among the poorest in Brazil but also some of the nicest people that I have ever met. You can read the full story on my Brazil experience here.
Onwards from Brazil I traveled to Santiago in Chile. I met with my friends Patricia, Christian and Sandra who work in Chile. Santiago is a busy city and the amazing Andes are visible just beyond the cityscape. Me and Sandra soon flew down to Punta Arenas in southernmost Chile. Sandra would start working with whales there a week after. Punta Arenas is the furthest south that I have ever been in the world and it was really a nice experience. One day I went to the Torres del Paine national park. Although the guide I had with me was a bit peculiar, the trip offered beautiful sights of the grand landscape. The park should definitely be experienced by foot, though, and not by minibus with a few stops here and there.
As a finale to the trip, I went back up to Santiago and together with Patricia, Christian and their friend Filip trekked up on some very nice peaks in the Andes just outside of Santiago. Feeling the fresh air and seeing the larger mountains further away was a very nice feeling. As always, being on top of a mountain is a special feeling. Read the full story on Chile here.
After a 32 hour journey from Santiago, I arrived home in Uppsala on 4 December. Mostly preparing for future projects in the remainder of December, the year came to a perfect close after a year that was filled with adventures, breathtaking animals and amazing people.
Thank you for making 2015 such an awesome year!