At Rewilding Europe we believe that connecting young people with wild nature can inspire them to conserve and enhance it. The success of two, three-day educational camps, held inside northern Portugal’s Faia Brava Nature Reserve last October and this April, was therefore heartening for all involved.
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Portugal, or at least the region in which we stayed, was far richer in wildlife than most if not all of Denmark. The diversity and sheer number of bird species we witnessed far outcompeted anything I’ve seen even in the largest nature reserves in my country. Even so, when we entered the Faia Brava reserve, the difference was immediately noticeable. While the towns and arable fields of the surrounding landscapes had been home to a great number of animals, the reserve was in a league of its own.
The celebration of the 15th anniversary of Associação Transumância e Natureza (ATN) on 12–14 June marked the great progress made with rewilding of the Côa Valley in the Portuguese part of the Western Iberia rewilding area. During the event, the Faia Brava Star Camp pre-launch took place to show the visitors an accommodation unique and new for Europe.
The Faia Brava Reserve, on the Portuguese side of the Western Iberia rewilding area, offers some of the best vulture watching opportunities in Europe. The newly opened Vulture hide here offers to the visitor fantastic opportunities to see and enjoy these huge raptors at point-blank range.
At the end of January, a female Maronesa cow was born in the Faia Brava Reserve, one of the Rewilding Europe core areas in Western Iberia. Totally, there are now 10 Maronesa individuals living in a semi-wild way at Faia Brava.
After our successful crowdfunding campaign, Associação Transumância e Natureza (ATN) has now bought 6 Tuareg-style tents and produced a complete all-included program (meals, tents, sleeping bags and mattresses) to use mainly for school groups who want to visit the area. The ATN team will be in charge of all the logistics for these educational trips to Faia Brava Reserve.
Associação Transumância e Natureza (ATN) in partnership with Rewilding Europe is excited to launch an opportunity to develop and operate a boutique lodge/camp in the Faia Brava private nature reserve in the heart of Portugal’s Côa River Valley. The picturesque site is fully secured and available on a minimum 15 year leasehold basis.
From the very fragmented, small-landowner landscape in northeastern Portugal, we suddenly come into a big, already quite raw and wild-looking area: the 600 hectare Faia Brava private nature reserve, in the dramatic Côa valley. This is Portugal’s first private reserve and it is owned by Associaçâo Transumância e Natureza, who is working to rewild it, taking away all extractive use and bringing back lost wildlife, as well as protecting the already existing precious locally breeding wildlife: the Bonelli’s eagle, the golden eagle, griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, eagle owl etc. And taking care of the cultural heritage sites in the reserve as well.
Monitoring of raptor species in the Faia Brava Nature Reserve and Côa Valley Special Protection Area (SPA) shows griffon vultures have made a dramatic return to the Western Iberia rewilding area since the 1990s. This bodes well for ongoing rewilding efforts here.