|Year of Production|
1 x 52 min
Worldwide except for Germany and France
Portugal was once a great power linking the Old and New Worlds, and the urge to explore, and return, is key to understanding its wildlife and landscapes. Wild horses small enough to fit on cramped ocean-going ships were captured in Portugal’s northern mountains, and exported to gold-greedy Conquistadores in the Americas. Other horses: sea-horses in their colonies on the Algarve’s sandy coast – face the excesses of tourism: plunging anchors, noisy jetskis; and illegal capture for the far eastern medicine trade. In Portugal, the ancient elements of Air, Earth, Fire and Water rule: 20th century dictator Antonio Salazar imported quickgrowing eucalyptus trees to boost timber production. But, sucking up groundwater and producing inflammable oils, their devastating annual forest fi res are now resisted only by Portugal’s traditional cork oaks. And that’s why thousands of white storks build their nests in these hardy trees – and in an even safer place: on the pillars of rock that line Portugal´s stark Atlantic cliffs, buffeted by the world’s biggest waves. Beyond the ocean horizon, south of Madeira, lies the aptlynamed Desertas Island, a last refuge for fiercely protected Mediterranean monk seals; while two hundred metres above them, Europe’s largest wolf spider rules the bare rocks. With its one white egg holding 200 young, this endangered species has brought up its numbers to 5,000. Back on the mainland, in a fairy-tale forest behind a sixteen-kilometer wall, Portugal’s former royal hunting grounds now protect roe deer, red deer, and wild boar. And Portugal’s wildlife is further enhanced by the winter colony of fl amingos in the Tejo Delta close to Lisbon. Climate change means the birds no longer have to migrate to Africa.
Award :Mountainfilm Festival (2020): Honourable Mention (won)