RFI for Greece and Italy
Colleagues! We are traveling to Italy and Greece this summer and I want to squeeze in some mammal time while viewing all the old buildings…;-) We really want to focus on the bovids – Mouflon, Chamois, Ibex, etc. But I would really like a shot at the Mediterranean Monk Seal as well. Anyone have any ideas on the best places to see some of these critters? We’re in Italy and Greece but I am not opposed to dipping in to France, Switzerland or even swinging over to Spain for a good shot… Cheers!
Coke, Mediterranean Monk Seals are possible but hard in Turkey. I will leave others to give you info on Italy and Greece but the Andujar region of Spain is excellent for Moufflon as well as the Iberian Lynx of course and you can see Ibex near Granada. The Vercors region of France is good for Chamois, Moufflon and Alpine Ibex as well as Marmots etc. But I think you should get all the bovids in Italy easily enough
Thanks! I think I have a good plan of attack forming… I might give Crete a try for the Cretan Wild Goat as well as try for some of the spots where Monk Seals have been spotted there in the past….who knows.
I’ve heard that monk seals are fairly reliable at Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania… if true, it’s the only such place.
A good place for mufflon in Italy is the peninsula east of Golfo Aranci/Island of Sardegna. Take Via Cala Moresca. If your are offseason you can drive to its end. Then walk to the top of the peninsula. On your way up you have good overviews to each side of the road. The peninsula is only 3-5 km in diameter. So sooner or later you will see the animals.
If you want to see ibex and chamois in mixed herds (up to 80 in a herd) go to Gran Paradiso National Park in the Alps. Drive from Aosta to Cogne. Hike within a few hours to “Refugio Vittoria Sella”, where you can stay overnight. I was there in fall so you should ask for seasonal shifts.
If you are really into chamois and ibex you shouldn’t miss the castle at Sarre near Aosta. Inside you will find the biggest collection of ibex trophies all hunted by king vittorio emanuele II. Even if you are not a bone freak you will be fascinated. See: http://www.google.de/imgres?q=castello+di+sarre&um=1&hl=de&sa=N&biw=1615&bih=1003&tbm=isch&tbnid=3YKSn3BkCiU0XM:&imgrefurl=http://www.courmayeur-mont-blanc.com/castellosarre.htm&docid=wp-HRpaQYy6xZM&imgurl=http://www.courmayeur-mont-blanc.com/Castelli/castellosarre/corridoio1p.JPG&w=661&h=678&ei=TuebUKb5IqiB4AS43YCACw&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=4&sig=116898173173199777598&page=1&tbnh=139&tbnw=135&start=0&ndsp=42&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:0,i:72&tx=53&ty=69
Good luck, Ralf
Another place for Mediterranean Monk Seals are the Desertas Islands. These uninhabited islands off the coast of Madeira are home to a small (but increasing) population of about 35 Mediterranean Monk Seals. I saw one there in August 2004 near the main island of Deserta Grande. Several Madeira based companies offer trips to these islands, which can be good for cetaceans as well.
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Abruzzo NP in C Italy is nice and easy for local chamois, red deer, brown bear. Alps in Switzerland have ibex and alpine chamois in many places, but I guess Italian Alps have them, too.
AFAIK, nobody practically sees Meds Monk Seals.