Wild Europe

April nature is waking from it’s winter torpor this is a sign we’ve been waiting for to launch our series of trips to the heart of wild Europe our expeditions will explore nearly one-fifth of Europe the network of protected areas called Natura 2000 before we set out an observation never in history and nowhere in the world has any continent been so transformed by the hand of man today only one percent of Europe’s land can be described as truly wild it is in man’s interest to extend these untouched areas and we need to ask a question are we doing enough to protect them Tuesday April 22nd five o’clock in the morning over the next few days we will try to observe the biggest carnivore in Europe as it wakes from hibernation the Scandinavian brown bear we are in Sweden in a zone almost untouched by man the National Park of full reveal it is part of Natura 2000 it is an enormous forest surrounding a high and humid pattern which is still frozen at this time of year snow mobiles are permitted for a few kilometers but not inside the parks silent zone we are now at this point here yeah just yeah yeah just here why the river turns the silent part of the National Park and physiologists that direction truly violet is also a pan pork and to be a pan pork you have to have ten thousand hectares of silent area silent what do you mean no engine no engines no hunting no roads no nothing it has to be totally silent it’s more convenient for bears to I’m sure with no motive traffic around so and that’s a very good area for bears to stay over the winter the 35,000 hectares of full of Fiat Park are open there are no fences to disturb the ecosystems the animals who live here and those who pass through these systems converge in the park but they also spread far beyond its borders despite the frozen snowy landscapes animal migrations mean that this wild place is filled with constant movement this young wolf that we have been watching for several minutes forces the Moose in front of him to flee his ability to cover many kilometres without stopping makes him one of the engines of this extensive mixing then at last the Bears we find them wandering the slopes of the mountain during the day and returning to the forest for the night finally we found him all his tracks a couple of days ago two three days ago there was a bear walking here not a big bear perhaps four or five years something like that though we are here to observe the bears and other animals we sense that nature too is observing us the bear is a very shy animal if his small people or if he can hear people he go away it’s often I’m pretty sure I’ve been very close to bears many many times without knowing where always to consider that we are the guests in the bear territory for example he was here before us at the end of the day good news the Bears have been located now we will try to get closer to him Thursday April 24th on the northern edge of the park a strange convoy departs for the frozen lakes on the plateau at an altitude of 1000 meters although this is a protected wild zone

some sustainable tourism is permitted we pass close to some cabins where it is even possible to spend the night the red crosses indicate the only route that can be followed with the imminent arrival of summer the trap will soon close for several months we’re greeted by an unexpected sight here in the middle of a protected while fishing is still allowed you’re not allowed to take wishes between 18 to 35 centimeters the wounds smaller or bigger you’re allowed to take you have to have a license for that and here it is and you have to have have it with you when you are out fishing the anglers tell us that fishing with short rods through the eyes brings more pleasure than fish the money earned from fishing permits enables the park to monitor the lakes and keep track of the fish population but this is not the only scientific activity in the park okay there are this as Bruce I have it on my GPS we have an appointment with a veritable scientific treasure famous for the park because we this may be the oldest tree in the world this little tree is the subject of in-depth scientific studies which revealed that it took root here to 7500 BC what we are looking at is possibly the oldest tree in the world the analysis has been made from from parts of the the tree that’s under the ground down here and those parts were analyzed by carbon-14 method and the tree over ground up here what you can see is not 9,000 years this is maybe 50 years or 30 years depending on where you measure this spruce is able to re sprout at its base this has enabled it to survive the most extreme climatic conditions including forest fires proof if proof were needed that wild vegetation has no need of human intervention April 29th in the silent forest of full of fear something has disturbed the peace this ball and his family are agitated they sense of presence the boars unease is in marked contrast to the attitude of the creatures that provoked it these are male bears we witness them waking and chasing away of the traces of winter it’s time for a vigorous wash the male bears come out of hibernation before the females this is because they are happy with just a few branches and a little earth to make their lair not so the females perhaps they instinctively know that they will give birth during hibernation in the month of January and that thereafter they will be living in the lair until the Cubs are climatized to the outside world the males begin their summer regime up to 100 kilos of red berries a day a little exercise and some hunting an adult male bear requires a territory of 150 square kilometers and a female 80 that means that the wild century of full of violet can only ever be a part of the territory required by the Bears it is the safest part but alone it will never suffice without these protected wildlife zones it’s difficult to see how the forests original inhabitants would find the space to survive even here the presence of man marks the horizon spring is advancing and we leave on a new expedition this time we will look at rewilding attempts to turn back the clock and reverse man’s impact on the natural landscape the expedition will take us to the spectacular backdrop and precipitous contours of the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania

we are in Romania in the national park of rhetta’s at 40,000 hectares of high mountains where wooded slopes are crisscrossed by numerous rivers the Carpathians are a land of legend and fairy tales Retta SOT is no exception it is said that a dragon who covered it a young girl in the region for to duel here with her fiance during the combat the dragon unsheathed his sword and with one swipe cut off the tops of the mountains Retta that means to cut from that time on all the permanent lakes in the heights have born a woman’s name and the temporary ones the name of a man legends like these and the inaccessibility of reticent preserved its wildlife down the ages but today that is no longer enough our guides Alan Cosmin have promised to show us golden eagles what strikes us immediately is that the only way into the park is dominated by enormous trees because we don’t have many roads in the inside the park this is our rock because we we want to do preserve the nature from from the outside rhetta’s app resembles an impregnable fortress we plunge into the vertiginous part of reticent up to pay an apology will travel the rest of the way on foot before it was declared a national park and a nurturer mm area Greta’s at forest was being exploited for its would the bucura river was used to transport the trunks down to the valley our expedition accompanied by biodiversity experts will follow the river upstream to Lake bokura in a journey to the source with the approximate civil featured here around 1700 and bucolic 20,000 2040 so 2014 1850 meters the slope Stevens and the edge of the forest is closed the Kura is playing hard to get so how it is from nature poor nature good you want them 2,000 meters we are approaching the lake at last one show sign is this frog baby one so just a juvenile and adult a male one so they live here in our pine or Montaigne area in specially in around where it’s wet is endangered because of the one of the factors is introduced it trout in Alpine eggs it’s eating the and eggs the trunk which were introduced artificially will soon be fished in an effort to return the lake waters to the Frog finally bucura lake yes excellent the water from the lake is normally from there’s no melting and also bucura lake have spring in this in this area in this glacier circle this year this this area normally it’s very very good area for chinois for marmots for bears for eagles exactly for golden golden eagles is a sound of murmurs we arrive at the mountain rescue heart of Bakura which overlooks the clear waters of the glacial lake evening falls on the Hut and the lake tomorrow weather permitting we will climb up to 2500 meters where the Eagles have their domain great news the forecast is good after studying the map in the morning it appears that we can climb even higher than we hoped we

are going the West the West is the boundary is marked by a rock standing to attention cool The Guardian he watches over the next Valley of the park a restricted area only open to scientists as we leave Lake bucura we also leave the zone of active intervention we are now entering an area where a very different wildlife preservation strategy is followed a strategy of rigorous non-intervention 2,200 meters yes is the milkman answers matter all rights moving yeah we decided to make this expedition to see Golden Eagles because these predators are the very tip of the food chain consequently the presence of these magnificent birds of prey is proof that the ecosystem is in a healthy State these Peaks are home to no fewer than seven of the largest birds in Europe a stone puts an end to our privileged encounter and we leave reticent this link in the network that is Natura 2000 has shown a spectacular form that is wild and well preserved both with and without the discernible hand of land summer has arrived our final destination is an ancient forest the green roof of Europe nature knows no borders and this forest spreads over to countries in the Czech Republic this green roof is known as the samatha national park and on the German side it is a virus event since man stopped exploiting these 120 thousand hectares of forest the area is returning to a wild state and apparently Europe’s largest feline has decided to move in and that’s what we are trying to observe on the way we will question can the preservation strategies for a wild environment that straddles two countries be harmonized and how do wild zones like this protect man this strange sounds comes from a strange bird the capercaillie or wood grouse seen here parading in front of several dead trees and they are not the only ones around samatha forest seems to have fallen victim to a serial killer this tree was killed by bar beetle you can see there’s still some of them living in and there are so small animal but they could kill it very easy each of the female after the main thing is able to create this long long long hall and she put many eggs on the side the larvae are growing and eating the tissue under the bark this tissue is very very important for transport of water and when the line for transporting of water are disconnected it’s exactly the reason why the poor tree died because there is no water support for them it was in 1983 when a five minutes thunder storm uprooted 170 hectares in this area and it was I think unique in Central Europe not to take out two timber but to leave it to nature the

sick ecosystem is alive it is not dead and therefore we decided to establish this boardwalk to study how nature is working on the German side the philosophy is to leave nature alone and not interfere this allows visitors to observe the natural renewal of the forest up close without really setting foot in it the sort of tempests are struck here respect snowboarders it also devastated the check side of the park and with the trees defenses against parasites weakened all the killers had to do was move in and start eating as in Germany a philosophy and non intervention hold sway here too and the partially ravaged forest in Samara is being monitored to study how fast it is growing back and to measure the quality of the new growth it’s a painstaking task that will take several decades the first observations show that the forest grows back better and faster if man does not interfere samatha forest is growing back without replanting without cutting down and removing the dead trees this young otter lives on the banks of the river Vlad fur one of the Czech Republic’s richest areas in terms of biodiversity throughout Europe this species is endangered because of its need for pure water and it’s rivalry with fishermen but here it has nothing to fear on our expedition to find the links of Samara we make an incursion into its territory one of the most important function of this flood valley and and river system is that it’s a absolutely natural regulation of flooding because with this large area which is able to accumulate in our water after heavy rains or after melting of snow in upper part of mountains I would say that this is a natural adaptation of nature how Iqaluit in a water and have devoted for the dry month and this area is one of the laws where we can see it how it’s really working so we could say that this is really good example how it could work if we would be able to make more for an authorization make it cheaper in the future and make it more safe for people in the earth our guards zdenka is keen to demonstrate one of the many useful services performed by this world in this area as well as storing carbon samatha also provides unparalleled flood protection so we are only few meters out of the riverbank and we are entering one very typical bio tub here it’s a pit work area it’s very wet you can see it this masses they have incredibly good cells for collecting water they are very very long they can transport the water from underground lever of water so now there is a combination of peat walk effect so it means that there is a peat cell which is very good for keeping of water and there is a connection with the water system from River so it’s it’s really like a one big huge water dam you can see that these masses it’s as no there are many of them and all cells are absolutely full of water it’s like really if I would take bigger parts and fresh dempsey and it’s what they really can keep the water for a long time each of the cells of this Moss can accumulate 30 times its weight in water in times of heavy rain it ensures of this wild area acts as a vital buffer zone for cities downstream including the beautiful jewel that is Prague we continue our journey despite our travels on both sides of the park the links are nowhere to be seen so we had to Beckner to solicit the help of two experts to track down these elusive felines we are following by telemetry one color Li a Lynx you just try to look all around and where the signal is stronger it’s not there being able to observe europe’s largest feline in its natural environment is a sign that the area has managed to return to a truly wild state thanks in part to

the decision by man to halt all interaction with it the Linksys presence here raises the following question shouldn’t similar efforts be made elsewhere to return nature to a wild state Europe’s few remaining pristine zones are not just sanctuaries sealed off from the rest of the continents they provide a springboard from which wildlife can reach out to the wider areas all these animals we’ve seen look at us instinctively we feel the weight of our responsibility our wilderness needs protection but sometimes we love nature best by simply leaving it alone