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During a birding excursion to the English Gardens of Munich, in 1947 I had the privilege to meet Dr. Philipp Lehrs. I was just ten years old, thrilled by the opportunity to learn „live“ more about animals.. Dr. Lehrs was a distinguished, free-working herpetologist. He recognized my keen interest and over several years introduced me to a host of knowledge. He also made available books from his exquisite library which I inherited all when Philipp Lehrs died in 1956.

Among these herpetological publications was the separatum aus den Sitzungsberichten der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, „Herpetologia aegaea“ (1953) by Otto von Wettstein of Vienna, dedicated by a personal note to his dear friend Lehrs. Searching at once through the pages I discovered that the herpeto - (as much as the other) fauna on most islands of the Northern Sporades had never been investigated. ...weiterlesen "Northern Sporades – how it all began"

From the white marble sculptures of the Skantzoura coast some scant indication of a trail leads inland through juniper woodlands and olive groves - up the main ridge of the island's gentle hills. It had taken me decades to finally venture up there and explore what appears like a vision of several lucid buildings against the skyline. ...weiterlesen "Skantzoura – the elusive monastery"

Strongylò was a little Garden Eden in the Aegean Sea - in the Skantzoura archipelago of the Northern Sporades.

Until it was devastated by people who had brought goats and rabbits to this vulnerable isle. ...weiterlesen "Strongylò Island – the living dead"

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The island of Gioura was a royal possession and is now owned by the Greek State. It is the most efficiently protected area of the Marine Park Northern Sporades. One or two wardens stay there permanently, at least since the 1950s, several decades prior to the park's foundation. The wardens report to the Forestry Department on Skopelos.The reason for this strict protection is the belief that the endemic goat breed  on Gioura represents a unique wild species. ...weiterlesen "Gioura, Northern Sporades – ancient goat breed"

Gioura Island presents a rugged mountain wilderness from sea-level to 800 meters altitude. Human habitation always must have been confined to some plain stretches of land with clay soil. Steep lime-stone ridges surround these earlier cultivated areas like natural fortifications.

One has to consider changes in sea-level of up to 85 meters below recent marks.

Excavations starting in 1992 in the so called Kyklops Cave, have revealed a very early occupation, at least dating back ten millenia, to the Mesolithic era. ...weiterlesen "Gioura – civilization over 10.000 years"