Usually, all you will see of them is their tracks in an untouched snowy landscape. Perhaps those of a mountain hare, or even of an ibex. So many different species of animal live at various altitudes in Flims Laax Falera, but prefer to keep to themselves. In addition to brown hares, mountain hares and ibex, they also include red deer, chamois, roe deer, ptarmigans, black grouse, wood grouse, foxes and badgers – and lots of marmots, which, however, make themselves scarce in winter, busy with the business of sleep. A pair of eagles has also settled on the Flimserstein, and now and then bearded vultures come to visit. They all somehow have to deal with the activities of tourism and the use of their habitat by humans as a recreational space.
The top priority for gamekeeper Claudio Spadin is to ensure that wildlife sanctuary zones are respected by winter sports enthusiasts. With this in mind, he has contributed to a video with the title “Respect Wildlife” published at www.laax.com, which promotes wildlife-friendly behaviour among freeriders. The video is part of an extensive campaign entitled “Respect to protect” initiated by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment FOEN and the Swiss Alpine Club SAC. The call for nature-friendly and respectful behaviour towards wildlife is directed at freeriders, offpiste skiers, ski tourers, snowshoe hikers and other winter sports enthusiasts out and about in the mountains.
There are two more zones in the LAAX ski resort dedicated to protecting the natural environment. Here, the primary aim is to preserve the forest as a habitat for plants and animals. Forestry management activities are strictly limited, or banned altogether. The Stretg natural forest reserve is home to various kinds of grouse – wood grouse, black grouse and hazel grouse. An additional special forest reserve was created particularly for wood grouse and black grouse, with a view to providing them with a safe habitat. Both protection areas form part of the overall wildlife sanctuary zones in winter. If you do happen to encounter one of the shy mountain inhabitants, however, it is important to keep your distance and avoid making any noise.
the mountain hare changes its fur three times over the course of the year: in autumn it is first grey-brown and then white, while in spring it turns grey-brown again, and in summer brown. the mountain hare lives in open spaces above the tree line, as well as in sparse woodland during the winter. this nocturnal animal can dig holes in the snow in search of protection or food.
Male red deer have antlers made of bone, which they shed every year between February and april. red deer live in herds, separated by sexes almost the entire year. They prefer extensive forest areas bordering on open land.
Does, fawns and yearlings form a herd of up to 30 animals or more. While chamois often live lower down the mountain in winter than in summer, some spend the entire year at higher altitudes. they can be found above all on sunny slopes that are quick to reveal bare patches following snowfall.
Ibex have unique hooves that enable them to climb the most challenging terrain. they spend most of the winter at moderate altitudes on steep, sunny slopes. In particularly harsh winters, they move to locations below the tree line.
the wood grouse is at risk of becoming extinct, with just between 450 and 500 cocks left in Switzerland. the wood grouse is a forest animal that lives in sparse, highly structured forests. It puts on a particularly
impressive mating display.