Monday 25 November 2013

Paws for thought...

Chamois tracks
Go for a walk in the snowy woods and you'll see tracks of the animals you know live there but rarely meet. You can see where they've scampered up a bank, walked around in circles following good smells, and scraped away the snow to uncover something to eat.
Squirrel, lynx, deer, & chamois prints
With freezing temperatures and snow covering the vegetation for the next 5 months or so it's a tough time for these animals. Conserving energy is the name of the game and for this reason resorts restrict areas of the mountain as no go zones for walking, snow-shoeing and skiing.
Foot-print chart from
Whilst not wanting to scare any of these beasts into having to run and use energy, you'll often see animal tracks overlying old ski tracks. Using the route where the snow is firmest they use less energy, so we believe both can co-exist in the same spaces. These animals become habituated to man and that we (in winter) are not a threat. With no natural predators the larger animals are culled each September by hunters ie the winter doesn't threaten their numbers. Unlike the hunters, who take only the beautiful and strong, nature takes the weak and those less likely to survive.

For more information on how animals behave visit

Since writing this the canton of Valais have introduced 142 no go (to people) zones. These zones have been designed by hunters! (hum...) Some of the best and most easily accessed off-piste terrain is affected by this ruling, areas close to the resorts. You can find out more about where they are on the following website -  - closest to here is off the back of the Bella Tola in St Luc, into the Turtmann valley.

1 comment:

David and Sharon Laming said...

As always a great selection of photos what a fantastic conservation initiative.How these animals survive ( and many don't of course! ) is testament to the wonders of evolution. Its good to get a reminder how close to the edge of survival these creatures are so that those of us who can retreat into a cosy chalet respect the fine balance of food and energy that rule the lives of these remarkable creatures. That extra step forward to get the perfect photo causes stress and energy loss, in our easy turn the thermostat up put another log on the fire world its easy to forget how the other art live!.
and Oh what a privilege having Lynx on your doorstep. Regards Dave Laming