Crossed Footsteps

Photo: Alain Pourret.
Photo: Alain Pourret.

Winter sports practices and mountain species. Despite of a growing awareness of the fauna fragility during the cold season our impact on wildlife is still considerable. For many species, the winter is a real purgatory, while, some times, a little and simple effort on our part would allow them to get quietly through this naturally difficult season. Not making noise, sparing forests and forest edges, avoiding slopes cleared of snow and respecting the protected areas. Yes to outdoor sports but with reason and restraint, in order to still enjoy the benefits and pleasures offered by this natural environment.

Repeated flights in the snow cause such a loss of energy to wildlife that it can lead to death by exhaustion and hypothermia. Therefore, above all, always think of the disturbances caused to the species that we are delighted to admire. The most active wildlife zones are generally those crossed at the beginning and at the end of the day, these times are when we really need to make sure to stay as discreet as possible. The “rule of the funnel” simply summarizes what to do in terms of mountain paths. Above the treeline, in open snow slopes, the route can be free and will have little negative impact. At the edge of the woods and into the forest, it is essential to converge footsteps as this area is the vital habitat of many wild animals.

This is a theme that Mountain Wilderness is not much focusing on, however Mountain Wilderness Switzerland got interested in responsible behaviors towards wildlife during the winter sports season. For this purpose, they published a booklet entitled “Wild Snow” inspired from the campaign “respect to protect – in French”. Problematics at stake, advices on behavior, elements of knowledge about wildlife, there are much information to learn on how to practice and have fun while “respecting to protect.”

Curious and interested in the subject, volunteer to relay these important messages, do not hesitate to contact MW so that we can send you the paper documents. Our primary objective is to inform as much as possible on these issues, given that negative impacts are more often caused by simple ignorance than by bad will.

(VN, BM)

Links:

Educational Game (in german) for students (6th to 9th degree) on Wildlife and Snow: http://mountainwilderness.ch/projekte/bergsport-winter/lehrmittel-wild-im-schnee/

Respect Campaign: http://www.respect-to-protect.ch/ (English, French, German Italian)

Campaign for freeriders: http://www.respect-wildlife.ch/en/

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