Oliver Rampley created a guiding service focused on Florence’s Arno river in 2013. This business evolved to offer bird and wildlife watching across Tuscany.
Altana Europe was founded in 2016 to give predominant attention to bird and wildlife watching trips and create scope for specialist experiences based on: modern conservation initiatives and biodiversity; conservation management; the science and ethics of selective management hunting of hooved animals; discourses around sustainability and 'where food comes from'. Nowadays, Oliver's trips with clients and his independent studies and adventures are focused on these complex and intersecting areas.
Working with a kaleidoscope of naturalists, ornithologists, gamekeepers, foresters, chefs and institutions, Oliver has led hundreds of trips. Annually, he currently leads trips in Italy, Spain, Scotland, Norway and Canada.
Feature-length articles on Oliver’s work in the field have been published in Financial Times Weekend (2014 and 2018), British GQ, How to Spend It (2018 and 2020), Country Life, Fieldsports, Country & Townhouse, Shooting Times, FlyFishing and Fly-Tying and Flyfishers' Journal, as well as national Italian newspapers.
Oliver is a committed ornithologist with a special interest in the birds of Florence’s historic gardens and the river Arno. He has an avid interest in the fauna of Italy and Spain, especially migratory songbirds, and has led bird and wildlife watching excursions at sites including the Oasi di Burano wetlands and Monte Argentario peninsula (Tuscany, Italy); the lowland sierras of Cádiz and Ronda; the foothills of Grazalema Natural Park; the wetlands of Doñana National Park and Brazo del Este (Andalusia, Spain). Oliver has hosted trips focused on observation of specific species, including Ronda Ibex, Sierra Nevada Ibex and critically endangered Iberian Lynx.
Oliver has spoken and consulted on the behaviour, lifecycle, conservation and management of Wild Boar in Europe and has studied the species first-hand in Italy, Hungary, Sweden, Spain and France. His interests in wild boar include: all aspects of their behaviour; their sensory acuity and comparative intelligence; the range and separation of subspecies; the distinguishing behaviour and identification of feral pig hybrids; the effect of wild boar on ground-nesting birds; the effect of wild boar on rabbit population in the Iberian peninsula; the methodology of supplementary feeding and filming of wild boar for population assessment. Oliver believes that controlled, data-led selective culling or trapping of wild boar is an increasingly legitimate method for the protection of biodiversity in ecosystems where natural predators such as wolves and bears are missing. However, he is a strong critic of the negative, anecdotal mythology that surrounds wild boar in Europe, especially as it relates to an assumed aggressive predisposition towards humans.
Oliver is currently researching the behaviour of the secretive African Bushpig (Pochamochoerus larvatus) - 'the Ghost of the Darkness' - and tracked and filmed the species during his first attempt in January 2020.
After graduating from Oxford University, Oliver walked from St Mark’s Square in Venice to St Peter’s Square in Rome. During this formative adventure, he spent 10 days in Florence and decided – more or less on the seeing the city for the first time from Fiesole – that he would return and live there one day.
During a few intervening years spent mainly indoors, he became Managing Director of a London-based firm and subsequently consulted to service brands including Abercrombie & Kent Luxury Travel.