Nature conservation in Spain

Figures are for 2004.

  • There are around 750 protected areas in Spain , many as a result of the fashion for their declaration in the 1990′s. Despite their number and extent, many areas are poorly managed. In October 2004, 48 new national parks were earmarked for declaration over the coming years.
  • The EU Red Natura lists 1,206 sites which are to be protected as Zonas de Especial Conservación . These will cover around 110,00 km2 (22% of Spain ) of which 5,560 km2 will be marine sites.
  • Around 1,250,00 hunting licenses are granted every year. Most of these are held by very occasional hunters of game birds.
  • The number of visitors is becoming a serious problem for some National Parks. 650,000 people visit Ordesa each year.
  • There are 156 endangered species of fauna and flora in Spain. 90% have currently (2004) no recovery plan, in contravention of the 1989 Nature Conversation Act. The number of endangered species has doubled since 1990. 108 are plants, 16 invertebrates, 1 amphibian, 4 reptiles, 4 fish, 17 birds and 6 mammals. In the last 100 years, at least 17 species of fauna and 24 species of plants have become extinct in Spain.
  • According to the Spanish Ministry of the Environment, since 1996 at least 1,000 animals have died a year from illegal poisoning. 44% of these are protected species. The baits are often (59.6%) put out by the owners of private game reserves to kill foxes and wolves, and so increase their rabbit and partridge populations. Between 1990 and 2003, a least 4 bears, 80 imperial eagles, 20 lammergeyers, 495 black vultures have been poisoned. The government believes that these figure are in reality much, much higher: BirdLife International claims that the Spanish population of the red kite has fallen by 50% in 10 years because of poisoning.
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