onsdag den 22. maj 2013

More wolf tales

The Danish authorities have released a map showing the various sightings of wolves in Denmark since the official rediscovery of the animal last winter. The official estimate is between two and five wolves. This is all well and good, but of course the deer-hunting season has also just started in Denmark, so everybody is waiting and dreading the time when some trigger-happy hunter who's been reading the Brothers Grimm to many times, starts blasting away at the wolves. Unfortunately several of them have already bragged about planning to do just that if the wolf got in their cross-hairs - just to protect their children and life-stock of course. Rumours have already started about wolves already having been shot - morons!!!


onsdag den 8. maj 2013

Beetle rediscovered in Denmark after 45 years

Danish naturalist Klaus Bek Nielsen had an inkling something major was afoot, when a rather dapper beetle suddenly trundled across an area of good ant-lion territory on the danish island Møn. He had been out exploring with a friend for most of the day, when this beetle suddenly appeared. Closer inspection and confirmation by several experts revealed it to be a specimen of Chrysolina carnifex - as seen on this very nice photo taken by Klaus Bek Nielsen.

Foto/billede af Klit-Guldbille     (Chrysolina carnifex)

This is the first confirmed sighting of the beetle in Denmark since 1967. Bek Nielsen and his friend is probably the only living naturalist in Denmark to have seen this beetle. All earlier sightings were made by people who are now all dead.

torsdag den 2. maj 2013

Wolf hunters and other morons

Wolves have been a big issue in Denmark for several months now – for the first time in 200 years we now have wolves living in our little country – two of them to be exact. But unfortunately all the loonies have started to come out of the woodwork as well. Some people seem to have their knowledge of wolves from the tales of the Brothers Grimm, and we have been subjected to all kinds of paranoid and hysterical ramblings from people who are now too frightened to take a walk in their local wood, from politicians who are certain the wolves have been released by biologists as part of some kind of underhanded scheme to suppress people living in rural areas. An organization has even started to collect signatures to get the government to sanction killing the wolves.

The latest is “anonymous” hunters declaring that when the deer hunting season starts in a couple of weeks, the wolves will not be a problem, as they will shoot them on sight. They are even bragging about two wolves that have allegedly already been shot and buried quietly. Unfortunately stupidity is not illegal in this country, but they even have the audacity to say that the wolves have been shot as an act of compassion – this is based on a photo of one of the wolves taken by an automatic camera a few weeks ago showing a wolf shedding its winter coat. “This wolf is clearly severely debilitated by mange, so we are in fact doing it a favour by shooting it.”

This one is only sleeping in the sun by the way.

Oh yes – and of course there is also an element of “them and us”. Them being people like me living in the capital, and not knowing a thing about nature, unlike a certain group of farmers and other people living in rural areas who see themselves as the only people who truly understand what’s going on in nature, and who see themselves as living in pact with nature and the seasons. “How do you think it would be to live beside a ferocious predator like a wolf? some of them have shouted at me – you can of course if you like, exchange ferocious with bloodthirsty or something even more scary. I have even been told that if my child was eaten by a wolf I would be sorry that I hadn’t listened to those sane voices wanting the wolves to be killed as quickly as possible.

And to think I had this idea that the Middle Ages was long gone. Silly me!

The wild and wanton wallaby

We have an important cryptozoological anniversary on our hands here in Denmark today. A red-necked wallaby have now been on the loose for a year since it ran away from its owner, a farmer on the Danish island Ærø in the spring of 2012. Despite the winter and spring 2012/2013 being very cold and nasty, the animal is probably having the time of its life. It is regularly seen by locals, and it has been moving around all over the island. The owner, who is something of a wallaby afficionado (he's got 15 all together) has been trying to catch the animal on and off for most of the year, but is is proving difficult, and since it is doing so well, he isn't trying to hard. Locals are even now trying to persuade him to release some more, and make them into a tourist attraction.

Rampant marsupials are nothing new in Denmark. This wallby is not the first, and will probably not be the last. Most of the sightings during the years (and they stretch back about a century) are of red-necked wallabies. They are a tough and very adaptable species having no problems with the danish climate. One set of sightings though, from the early 1960's are a wee bit different. That particular kangaroo was described as being very big - close to 2 meters, and bright red. Giant red kangaroo anyone? This was in the southern parts of the island Zealand, about 50 km's southwest of the danish capital of Copenhagen. It was seen 7 times all together, and then disappeared without a trace.