Romania: Malancrav – The Woods Today…

June – August 2016

Everyone who’s set up a trail camera has had a ‘what in the name of all wonders is that?!’ moment. Malancrav is up there with the best of them.

It is not that there is no wildlife; we even have a blurry clip of red deer, the largest mammal in Transylvania.

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And a pine marten puts on a welcome show.

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It is also one of the few places where I’ve caught a buzzard on a cam.

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And then the monster strolls by.

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In the mammal book? No. Wikipedia tells me that it is a corb, also known as a Romanian raven shepherd dog, best described as a gigantic, rambling, black St Bernard. It is indigenous to Brasov where it has been driving bears away from cattle for centuries. What it is doing roaming around Malancrav’s outback by itself is a mystery. Romania has a serious stray dog problem that is not only a hazard to people, but also to wildlife – in fact sadly we see one guard dog run down and kill a hare on the outskirts of the village.

The corb is a little strange, but Trailcam 7 wins the prize. I’ve been having arguments with this camera all season; it seems to have some kind of power leakage and is chomping through 10 AA batteries a week. It buzzes, glitters and goes flat. One of my colleagues has kindly offered to leave it in front of a moving bus. But, alas, first it is stolen…by ants.

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The photograph does not do the crisis justice – there is a video clip on YouTube here.

Gingerly, very gingerly, we put Trailcam 7 into a Ziploc bag, spray it with mosquito repellent – the only weapon at hand – and carry it three miles back to camp.

Thieves, corbs and ants – who would be a trail camera?

But our next stop is the remote village of Daia, where cams keep the royal company of bears.

4 thoughts on “Romania: Malancrav – The Woods Today…

  1. It’s odd that you mention red deer … I’ve just seen a bit on the telly about the Royal Deeside, and spotted a red deer stag in it … handsome, he was. I also found out that, in this country, the deer raised for venison restaurants are red deer, because they are bigger. My redneck buddies put out trailcams, and get lots of pictures of whitetails.

    The pine marten seems a bit stand-offish, but of course, the lighting is extremely difficult.

    The buzzard is a bit of luck, even though you’ve only got the front third.

    The corb is very interesting … it is definitely different from a St. Bernard, especially in the head and muzzle, but he definitely looks BIG!

    That infested by ants is a gas! I especially like the battery brand: LIGHTS OUT. LOL

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    1. I was in the Highlands in 2016 and saw a fair number of reds there. They are noticeably smaller than the red deer in Poland (poorer habitat and hybridisation with introduced sika deer, I guess) but seeing them in those splendid mountains is always very apt.

      The corb was a right shock when I was checking back through the footage – first its massive head loomed slowly into view and then the rest of it trundled by! Very impressive dog although I wouldn’t like to get on its bad side.

      LOL, yes, Lights Out – should have changed it to ‘Camera Out’! I pleaded with them to retire Trailcam 7 but I fear they used it again last summer. I almost hope that the ants carried it off. That camera was seriously hard work. Give me a Bushnell over that model any day!

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