Zoologist Jim Fowler once said, “The continued existence of wildlife and wilderness is important to the quality of life of humans.”
Echoing Fowler’s ideals with its latest initiative is Rewilding Europe, a nonprofit conservation organization aiming to make Europe a much wilder place.
According to the website, “rewilding” aims to make natural processes and wild species play a more prominent role in the wild, “meaning that after initial support, nature is allowed to take more care of itself.” Rewilding Europe plans to “rewild” 1 million or more hectares of land by 2020, which will result in 10 wildlife and wilderness areas.
The project is based on a philosophy utilized in Yellowstone National Park, where wolves and bison were reintroduced into the wild as a means of restoring the local ecosystem.
The effort also is providing opportunities for tourists to Europe to reconnect with nature through wildlife-watching tours and camps. Through the collaboration with the European Safari Company, unique safari experiences are being offered to those seeking nature-based getaways.
Here are just a few of the many opportunities travelers to Europe will have to get up-close and personal with wildlife:
Faia Brava Star Camp | Portugal
Those with a bucket list should definitely add the Star Camp as a destination. Overlooking Portugal’s Côa Valley in the Faia Brava Reserve, sits Europe’s first real safari-style accommodation, featuring almost 100 hectares between the peaks of the Serra da Marofa and the vineyards of the Douro River.
Overlooking the awe-inspiring landscape of Western Iberia, the Star Camp offers the opportunity to visit a place that’s rich in wildlife, a varied habitat of olive trees and cork oaks, recovering Mediterranean forests, as well as abandoned farmhouses, shepherd shelters and dry stone walls.
Rooms include running water, a bathroom with a shower, double beds, WiFi, amazing starry skies by night and mountain views during the day.
Bison, bear and chamois adventure
in Bison Hillock | Romania
Bison disappeared from the wild in Romania approximately 200 years ago, but thanks to “rewilding” efforts from a variety of organizations, including Rewilding Europe, they’re making a comeback.
During the adventure tour, you will track bison and also learn why they are so significant to the world’s ecosystem. Several hours will be spent hiking, so you’ll need to be prepared physically for this safari and need a good pair of boots.
As impressive as the bison may be, you might later contend that bear watching in the Tarcu Mountains in Romania is even more amazing. An experienced nature guide will accompany you on this trip, which includes accommodation in a cabin or tented camp.
Wildlife watching experience
in Velebit Mountains | Croatia
Become engaged with the sounds, smells and sights of nature in the Velebit Mountains in Croatia.
Photography-enthusiasts will spend their time soaking in everything nature has to offer in hides, which feature exterior designs that resemble a log pile. They accommodate up to six people and have plenty of viewing windows. They also feature a pair of beds for those looking for the unique experience of nighttime wildlife viewing.
This trip also offers hiking in the mountains and there are additional activities that can be enjoyed nearby, including mountain biking and boating along the coast.
For more information about safaris and “rewilding” efforts, visit Rewilding Europe’s website at www.rewildingeurope.com.