I’ll be in Spain in two weeks for a few days and wonder if anyone would have information on where best to look for Cantabrian bears and wolves? Other mammal intel welcomed too.
Any help or advice greatly appreciated!
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The best place to observe Brown Bears is Somiedo National Park(Asturias)although you may be a little late in the season to see them. The La Peral watch point is usually the best place to look although I would ask for up to date information at the tourist information in Pola de Somiedo immediately on arrival. The park is also excellent for Wildcat and Pyrenean Chamois (Cantabrian subspecies). Details of the sites etc. can be found in my report below.
For Iberian Wolf you need to visit the Sierra de la Culebra (Castilla y Leon). If you stay at the CTR Veniata (www.ctrveniata.com) they should be able to give you information on the recent wolf sightings and give you directions to the most reliable watch points. The area is also good for Red and Roe Deer, Wild Boar and Otter. Some details from my 2013 visit can be found below.
Sightings of both the wolf and bear require a great deal of luck and patience. Bad weather can greatly decrease your chances so I would allow several days for each. Also make sure you bring a spotting scope as views can be very distant.
Several local tour companies now offer wolf and/or bear watching trips. Although I’ve never used one myself, I did meet John Hallowell from Wild Wolf Experience (www.wildwolfexperience.com) when I was in Somiedo. He was happy to share info and seemed very knowledgeable about both wolves and bears. You may want to consider using him or a similar company if you’re short of time. At the very least they will have info on recent sightings and will provide an extra pair of eyes.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you require any additional info not provided in my two reports. Good luck and please let us know how you get on.