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Possible wolf in the Picos

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Offline lisa

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« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2007, 16:20 PM »
Just got a nine-year-old's eyes looking at these and Olivia says one's a wolf and one's a mastín.  8) That's what she thinks.
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Offline Mieke

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« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2007, 16:15 PM »
Difficult! If you put all info together it is very likely you've seen a wolf. But you can never be sure. Sightings of wolves are difficult. Most people cannot distiguinsh a wolf from a dog. (last year researchers in Portugal had to drive 200 kilometers for a dead dog that was mistaken for a wolf. If it had been a german shepherd ok, I can understand the resemblance, but the dog was a boxer!!??)
This picture unfortunately is not clear enough to say this was a wolf for sure. I hesitate because the animal seems to have a very muscular chest, wolves are very slim. Especially in the wild, wolves don't become large animals. In summer the animals become even smaller, because they loose a lot of their fur. Iberian wolves then don't look that big anymore.



Offline lisa

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« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2007, 09:35 AM »
Good point re. the loss of winter coat, Annemieke.
Nick, I don't suppose any of Steve's group have any more photos do they?
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Offline Steve H.

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« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2007, 12:56 PM »
Hi,

Steve here.  The raging controversy has got me to join your group. 

We were 8 UK military personnel on an Adventure Training expedition and we had been camping next to Refugio J D Ubeda at 1900m. (So a beer overdose is out of the question).  I am Advanced Unit Expedition Leader and have previously spotted things like foxes in the Welsh  mountains.  (They tend to be bigger and with a much more furry coat than their urban and lowland cousins).  I like the Picos for it’s wildlife (although some marmots from the Pyrenees would be good) and that morning with an early start we had seen Rebeco/Chamois (including a group of 6 in single file going up a track) and deer.  The area where we saw this animal is marked on the map as Cuesta Sierra and is a pasture of about a square km from 1400 to 2000m in altitude.  It is about 5 km West of Sotres also about 10 km North (as the crow flies) from El Cable .  The nearby steep woods of Monte de la Varera are again at least 1 km square and look like an ideal place for any animal to hang out. The nearest human habitation is a farm at Mayada La Terenosa (which included a Refugio that was closed) about 1 and a half km away.  I saw a farmer with chickens, cattle and goats.  We were told at Refugio J D Ubeda that his wife was called Rosa and she makes good cheese (that was the place to turn down into the valley towards Bulnes).  Our Spanish was not good enough for a chat but anyone passing that way could ask him (or Rosa) if they had seen anything after their sheep and goats?

About 30 mins prior to spotting this animal on the (really nice) track from Refugio J D Ubeda to Sotres we had passed a couple of guys who were going up to the Refugio with Parc National badges, so I assume they were rangers of some kind.  Checking on the map the place where we saw our ‘beast’ was at about 1500m and we sat down in the rock by the path for a break and to take in the view.  I quickly noticed all the goats (20+) on the hillside were dead still and straining to look at something across from them.  (There were a flock of scrubby sheep higher up who never seemed to notice a thing).

When I first saw it I remember saying, “What’s that up there? it looks like a *** Lion”.  It was about 6 or 700 metres away and you could see the shoulders going (like a cheetah) as it moved with the slow deliberation of a serious predator.   I got my monocular on it and thought it looked like a Puma but its colour against the background and the distance made it difficult to make out the head shape.  However even though it was approaching from some dead ground the goats had thoroughly spotted it.  The nearest was a large brown one with a white kid which appeared to be standing defiantly as a sentinel but as our beast got closer it hurried back into the heard.  (Our beast was a bit bigger at the shoulder than the goat and appeared to have a lot more bulk).  I could also see at least one raven or alpine cough diving down harassing our beast – this can be seen in a picture.  Maybe it was around their nest (July ??) and they were not happy or they just didn’t like it.  It appeared to stiff the ground or stick its head in a hole at one stage after it had given up on the goats.  I took five pictures on maximum zoom within 3 mins as it moved towards the goats.  My group then got bored (as none of them had a camera or binoculars) and wanted to get on down to the valley (Philistines!).  I finished off my coffee then took a final photo; by now our beast was sitting on its haunches and appeared to have spotted us.  I have six photos in all and have emailed them to Nick.

To be honest I really don’t know what this was. Some of the photos look like a wolf and some like a big cat or dog.  The odd pixel can play tricks and we need some CSI magic software.  If anyone talks to the farmer and he owns a St Bernard that likes to wander off then the mystery is solved.  I must say it did not move or behave like any dog I have seen before.  That’s why I was interested in your web article on Wolf/dog crosses.  If they shoot a wolf in the area (as they seem very keen to do by the pictures in the bars) then that’s another possibility.  Please let me know.
As a thank you for guiding them on this trip the group bought me a present - some binoculars ‘for beast spotting`!

Offline lisa

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« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2007, 07:21 AM »
Hi Steve H, thanks for sharing the info straight from the horse's mouth (so to speak!) Took me a while to work out "stiff the ground" though. I thought it may have been a biological or military term...
I don't know if you've looked at the photos of Spanish mastiiiffs, but from your description of the movement of it's shoulders and the way it just sat and looked at you then it sounds like mastiff. They wander around the edges of the flock which may look like prowling. I wonder, did you notice the head protruding at all?
Anyway, it's also quite possible to have been a wolf. You're right they do get shot even though we're not exactly over-run with them though there are some conservation groups working on the education of farmers.
Hope your group wasn't too restricted in its activities in the Picos.
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Offline Steve H.

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« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2007, 10:02 AM »

  Sorry, for stiffing read sniffing ! 

Offline lisa

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« Reply #26 on: August 01, 2007, 23:15 PM »
Oh dear. Found some disturbing news from lne.es Jan. this year;

"El PP quiere la cara norte de los Picos «libre de lobos» y que esta especie sea cinegética.
 
Ovidio Sánchez, líder regional del PP, planteó ayer, en Cangas de Onís, que el lobo sea erradicado de la vertiente norte del parque nacional de los Picos de Europa -que la zona quede «libre de lobos», en sus propias palabras- y que esta especie sea declarada cinegética. Además, Sánchez exigió que se agilice la salida de los núcleos rurales del espacio protegido y que se elabore un nuevo plan rector «de acuerdo con los vecinos»."


Erradicated! I'm very worried about the devolution of control of National Parks into the hands of people such as this delightful h### de ####.
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Offline spanishfreelander

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« Reply #27 on: August 01, 2007, 23:46 PM »
Hi,
I'm working my way through all the threads and came accross this one.
Ive seen wolves at longleat a couple of years ago while on holiday,and of course seen numerous docs on the tele concerning them.
I had heard that wolves still existed in spain,but i thought until recentily that they were now pushed into very wild and inhospitable areas in spain,there last refuge really.
My wife and i never spoke to anyone about the following incident,cause we still arnt 100% sure of it ourselves.
At the back end of last year we were fishing at xxxxx Lake on a very still sunny day.
First let me say,we didnt see anything at all...but we both heard what we can only describe as a wolf howl coming from the far side of the lake which is wooded and inaccesible by car.
We heard it twice,and to say it sent a shiver down our spines is an understatement..as the lake is not miles and miles from human habitation.
I havnt said the name of the lake on purpose,if it wasnt a wolf,no harm done,if it was..i wouldnt like to point the direction to it.
Its a lake in andalucia,big area i know..lol
Hope it dosnt seem like im "off me trolley",just thought id share it with the forum.
Dave

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #28 on: August 02, 2007, 04:25 AM »
Greetings Dave and All,
Will not enter the fray here as I couldn't tell a German Shepherd from an Alsation (also doubted recently whether I was looking at a whippet or a fox at only ten paces) and have lost count of the pics. I've looked at here - but at least one of them reminded me of a St Bernard, a possibility which was later mentioned by Steve H..

Greatly appreciate your not mentioning the exact location of the lake in Andalucia - it's good to know that others share my carefully-bred paranoia (no offence meant!). I don't know if your Spanish is up to reading Lisa's previous post/posting, especially her own ad-lib
Quote
h### de ####.
, but unfortunately that kind of tough talk (the politician's, not Lisa's) is typical here in Spain. Likewise, we do now have proof positive that the iberianatureforum is monitored by both Nato and UK military personnel and, given the amount of derogatory comments on this forum about politicians belonging to the PP, a certain political party in the opposition, their dirty tricks department is probably also interested in pre-empting our attacks on gold courses belonging to their party funders/donors or whatever they're called. :technodevil: and possibly even  >:D

Regs.
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline lisa

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« Reply #29 on: August 02, 2007, 08:20 AM »
Nice story Dave. If your lake is in or near the Sierra Morena then it was possibly a wolf. I've heard them from our house (once) and the primeval feeling it gave me made it unmistakable.

Still on my trolley (I think.)
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #30 on: August 02, 2007, 11:59 AM »
Greetings Dave,
Please do NOT fall into the trap of answering Lisa's subtle probe into the exact location of your lake! I'm sure it's not necessary to mention it, but as a male member of our species you've been naturally selected to be paranoid/wary (the f. of the s. is much less suspicious and far more trusting - and more wily beguiling).
Regs.
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #31 on: August 02, 2007, 19:36 PM »
Greetings All,
Heavy betting as to whether Technopat could or could not keep out of the fray, after all? :dancing:

Starting out from the premise that I know naught of wolves, mastines, etc. their walkin' and stalkin' habits, and the like, one thing struck me bout the two pics Lisa posted: the wolf's back (saddle?) albeit from a drawing, does seem to follow a straighter line the whole way along as opposed to the dog's sort of dip - which is clear in the two pics of the Beast.
Any use for ID purposes?
Regs.
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline lisa

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« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2007, 23:15 PM »
Ah so...

Canine backs;
Wolf - straight
Dog - dipped
Fox - hunched
   
 :biggrin:
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #33 on: August 02, 2007, 23:22 PM »
Greetings Lisa,
Is that the gospel according to Darwin or to Technopat's empirical field research, i.e. are you winding me up? Going on past form, the answer is obvious, but I lay in fear of the day when I put my foot in it by not believing something appearing on this forum.  >:D
I don't need to know for my own sake  :dancing: - it's just that there have recently been quite a few new members joining the iberianatureforum, and I wouldn't want them to be led up any garden paths by carefree banter.
Regs.
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline lisa

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« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2007, 23:35 PM »
Thank Darwin I put the smilie in. Actually I went off doing a google image search to look at wolves' backs but didn't come up with anything to prove/disprove your theory  :booklook:  :noidea:
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Offline lisa

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« Reply #35 on: August 03, 2007, 09:46 AM »
More wonderful news from the Picos de Europa, Parque Nacional. Vultures, raven and mastín found poisoned. I'm posting it here because the poison was originally laid for wolves. I'm wondering whether farmers just shouldn't be banned from the park and some kind of conservation collective put in charge of the livestock instead  >:(

From Fapas;

"Hallan 4 buitres y 2 alimoches supuestamente envenenados en la zona cántabra de los Picos.

La Coordinadora Ornitolóxica de Asturias (COA) denunció ayer ante la fiscalía del Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Asturias (TSJA) la muerte por envenenamiento de cuatro buitres y dos alimoches, cuyos cadáveres fueron encontrados en el límite de Cantabria con Asturias, dentro del parque nacional de los Picos de Europa. Según la COA, «pese a la prohibición que existe sobre la utilización de venenos dentro del parque nacional, algunos ganaderos la utilizan como medio para combatir a los lobos y defender su ganado». Así, rocían a sus reses muertas con veneno, circunstancia que provoca la muerte de otras especies que también devoran los cadáveres.

La denuncia de la COA se basa en unos hechos iniciados el pasado 3 de julio, cuando la veterinaria del parque nacional fue informada del hallazgo de un perro mastín muerto en extrañas circunstancias, pues no presentaba heridas o traumatismos ni, por la zona en la que se encontraba, podía haber sido abatido por un disparo. Cerca del cadáver se encontró una yegua y sus potros, muertos con anterioridad. Además, hasta allí llegaron numerosos animales carroñeros, como buitres leonados, lo que provocó las sospechas de que podrían haberse visto afectados.
El día 9 de julio, el laboratorio forense de Vida Silvestre comunicó de manera urgente al Servicio de Conservación de la Naturaleza de la Dirección General de Montes el hallazgo de sustancias tóxicas en el cadáver del perro, lo que provocó la puesta en marcha de inspecciones a cargo de agentes de Medio Natural, que dieron como resultado el hallazgo de un ejemplar adulto de alimoche, uno de buitre y un tercero de cuervo.
"

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