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  • Writer's pictureSophie Baumgartner

It’s all happening here in Spain

From the 30th of september until the 5th of october we had the first ever international mammalwatching meeting in Asturias, Spain. The goal of the weekend was to discuss responsible mammalwatching and how we can help conservation during our travels.

We met at the picturesque town of Villanueva where we were hosted by the hotel El Sabil and the guesthouse Casa Folgueras run by Pierre Boutonnet and his lovely wife Marie Duquesnay. Pierre is an excellent guide and knows the region and local wildlife by heart. This resulted quickly in some great observations of Brown bear, Broom hare, Otter and Genet. Hosting the meeting in one of the best regions in Europe for mammalwatching was of course pure coincidence…

10 highly motivated participants accompanied us in Spain with an additional 10 online participants to debate the future of mammalwatching. These active members of the community all worked together to make sure the hobby of mammalwatching has a sustainable future. Sharing ideas and experiences to make sure we can do the thing we love and can help conservation while minimizing negative impacts traveling can have.

Besides some interesting discussions we enjoyed several presentations of our participants that are working with mammals professionally and or in their spare time. As our participants have very different backgrounds this was a chance to learn more about different ways to contribute to conservation of mammals and nature.

The area of Villanueva proved to be the perfect place for the meeting as it provided us with some excellent mammalwatching. All made possible by the professional and regional guide Pierre and his good friend and excellent guide Frederic.

On monday when the meeting ended some of the participants who not yet had enough of mammalwatching in Spain went to Picos de Europa. Once again under the guidance of Pierre and Frederic who showed us magnificent views of Wildcat, Wolf, Ibex and many others. The elusive Pyrenean Desman remained elusive despite a great effort of the group.

The mammalwatching weekend turned out to be a great success with some great ideas on how to share locations in trip reports while avoiding possible future disturbance. One possibility is to not share exact locations but mentioning regions and providing habitat descriptions. Another idea is to publish a list of effective conservation projects around the world on the website which you can support or visit during your travels or even where to offset carbon emissions. But the meeting was only a start. A start to so much more. More results of the meeting will become visible both on our website as on

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