Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter Survival

Isard (Pyrenean Chamois)
The animals that live in the high mountains, like the Isard, have a hard time during the winter. As well as the freezing temperatures, snow, strong winds and avalanches, the animals have to contend with food being scarcer and harder to find. A tough life! The animals build up fat reserves during the summer to help them make it through the harsh winter months but not all make it.

A film from Salamandre Films called 'Survive' looks at the dangers the mountain animals face during the harsh winter months. The footage was shot in the Alps but the story the film tells could be applied to any mountain region in winter.

Althoug the film was shot in the Alps, all the animals in the trailer can also be seen in the Pyrenees - except for the Ibex (the animal with the very long horns) which became extinct in the Pyrenees in the late 1990's. No Ibex here unfortunately but there is the brown bear which cannot be found in the Alps. Not much chance of seing all these animals on the prepared ski resort slopes however. You have a much better chance with a Pyrenees Mountain Adventure snowshoeing week.

Snow Hare Tracks
Actual sightings of animals are rare but you will be able to see that you are surrounded by  wildlife  from the huge number of prints and tracks in the snow. During a Pyrenees Mountain Adventure snowshoeing week your guide can help you to start to identify which prints and tracks are made by which animal.

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