Friday, June 11, 2010

Best Photos of Wild Wonders Of Europe

Bugling red deer stag, Cervus elaphus, Denmark/Klampenborg,
Copenhagenthe red deer is the most emblematic of all European animals.
It is depicted in countless cave paintings, rock carvings,
and in the coats-of-arms of noblemen, towns, regions and businesses.
It lives in many habitats from treeless moorlands to semi-desert,
but was hunted to, and in some areas over the verge of extinction.

During the 1800s and 1900s the red deer survived in many countries
only in large royal hunting grounds, like the one where this photo
was taken. It is now coming back in great numbers, thanks to
reintroductions and more sensible hunting regulations. During
the fall mating season, also known as the rut, the red deer stags
use a brawling call to advertise their territory and
attract the females.

Dalmatian pelican Pelecanus crispus Greece /Lake Kerkini , Macedoniaat
16 kilos and with a 3 metre wing span, the Dalmatian pelican is,
together with the great bustard and the mute swan, a competitor
for the title �The World's Heaviest Flying Bird�. All three species
live in Europe. The Dalmatian pelican has made a very successful
comeback in the last 30 years,thanks mainly to nature protection measures.
Now it is quickly becoming a very valuable nature tourism asset.
Lake Kerkini is one of the most productive fish waters in Europe,
and supports as well as a vibrant fishery industry also
tens of thousands of pairs of breeding cormorants, herons, spoonbills,
grebes and pelicans. In 2009 and financed cleanup
campaign removed decades of plastic and other garbage from the lake.
Can we make a difference? Yes, we can! Nature conservation works!

Atlantic wolf fish and shrimp Anarchias lupus and Lebbeus polaris
Norway/Saltstraumen, Bod–Many wolf fish accommodate this shrimp species
in their lair, eating tit bits from the wolf fish favourite meal
sea urchins.The wrinkled blue-grey wolf fish is a highly-prized
delicacy which grows extremely slowly and can live for decades.
This makes them very vulnerable for the targeted fishing that is
now taking place in the Atlantic. More than 80% of commercial
fish stocks in European waters are thought to be over-fished.
One third is at risk of being beyond recovery. We all need to try
to be more responsible about eating only fish that is certified by
the Marine Stewardship Council,MSC. Shouldn't maybe all fish
sold in restaurants and shops by law have to be from MSC-certified fisheries?

Bee-eater tossing a bumble bee Merops apiaster and Bombus sp.
Hungary /Pusztaszer protected The bee-eater is a specialist in bumble bees,
wasps, bees and other larger flying insects. One of Europe's
most colourful and exotic-looking birds, the bee-eater lives
in colonies in sand banks. That is why this species has benefited
from human construction and road building, where gravel pits
and excavation sites provide many more artificial sand banks
than untouched nature. On the other hand, widespread pesticide
use in farming reduces the numbers of large insects that
the bee-eater needs to survive. The bee-eater is a Mediterranean species
of dry and open country, spreading northwards with climate change.
Sometimes they are persecuted by bee-keepers, who are not
so enthusiastic about their choice of diet.

Northern blue fin tuna Thunnus thynnus Malta Not long ago one of
the most common fish in Europe, and the economic backbone of many
Mediterranean cultures throughout the ages, the blue fin tuna
has been the foundation of one of the world's most lucrative
commercial fisheries. After decades of severe industrial over fishing
by amongst others an over-sized European fishing fleet,
this fantastic resource is now poised on the very brink of extinction.
If that fishing isn't banned very soon, the magnificent tuna
will be gone forever. The governments of all 27 EU countries in 2010
decided to back the international ban on trade in blufin tuna.
Let us hope the world follows suit. Bluefin tuna are very large,
long-lived fish that normally gather together in huge schools.
They can reach 30 years of age and the heaviest recorded tuna to
date weighed 680 kilos. The Atlantic population of bluefin tuna
is estimated to have decreased by 97 % since the 1960s.
In recent years, the European fishing fleet has still been
taking 60,000 tons of tuna annually, in spite of a sustainable
harvest being estimated at 7,500 tons. This is a fish that we should
all immediately refrain from eating! The senseless overfishing of
the tuna is a disaster of historical proportions. That is also
why this photo had to be taken in captivity, at a tuna
breeding facility. These fish have now all been served as Sushi.

Muskox; Ovibos moschatus, Dovrefjell national park, Norway

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