Catalan Bonelli’s eagles are critically endangered.

April 12th, 2014 by Clive Muir

bonellis-paintingI just came across this fairly amazing website with very much up to date information and research into Western Europes Bonelli’s Eagle populations. The latest studies are showing that the population in Northern Spain is at greatest risk.

The studies, based long-term monitoring of Bonelli’s Eagle populations in the Iberian Peninsula have revealed demographic relationships among different populations and has provided an insight into population dynamics in Western Europe.

The Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata) is one of the most typical -and most endangered – raptors of the Mediterranean region and the Conservation Biology Group of the University of Barcelona (UB) has been researching this species Since 1980 perhaps the most amazing thing of all is the website is in English and all of the studies are freely available to read.

Go to the website – Conservation Biology Group of the University of Barcelona here.

And of course Join in on the subject over at the Iberianature forum.

One of the first examples of the Iberian lynx conservation project has died

April 10th, 2014 by Clive Muir

lince Esperanza - HopeThe first example of the Iberian lynx conservation and breeding program “Esperanza” (Hope in English) has died of old age and ill health

She was discovered in march 2001 by Miguel Delibes in the Coto del Rey are of Doñana National park with three siblings. One was already dead and another in a critical condition. one young healthy cub was taken to the recovery centre at Zoobotánico Jerez. (presumably leaving the other surviving cub with with her mother?) she was named “Hope” because of the possibility of starting a breeding project to help recover the species and was hand reared at the zoo. When she was 5 months old she was moved to the breeding center of Acebuche close to the town of El Rocio in the Doñana National Park.

From there the success story continued, she was the second female to breed in captivity and had three litters with a total of 5 cubs. She surprised may due to her excellent maternal behavior despite having beed reared by humans with bottled milk and of course the absence of other individuals of her species. In 2009 she was affected by a chronic kidney disease at an advanced stage , later that year she was also diagnosed with a breast tumor that was removed in June 2010.

In November 2010 Hope was retired to Jerez Zoo (one of the breeding centres for the project) as she was no longer viable for the breeding program. For the first time in 2013 the non viable lynx were available for the public to view whilst the viable breeders remained in the off-limits breeding areas. Recently her health deteriorated as a result of old age (she just turned 13) and the last stages of renal failure. Esperanza was moved to a facility away from public viewing and given veterinary care but Yesterday (9th April 2014) and after reaching an advanced state of suffering the decision was made to euthanize her.

During the last 13 years, Hope has been one of the most news covered Iberian lynx and has added a lot to the social and educational awareness of the species. She was the first hand reared  lynx and and fairly soon her first cub called “Cynara” will give birth to her own first litter.

Dating back to 2009 with an incredible 63,000 views why not join in at the Iberian lynx topic at the forum. Click here.

Good and bad news from Aznalcollar and Doñana

April 9th, 2014 by Clive Muir

Contrapresa_rio_AgrioExcellent update with the good (and bad) news from Aznalcollar and Doñana Nacional park area on the BBC radio 4 programme “Costing the Earth”. Although ending with a warning for the future as is almost always the case it is good to hear that the clean up from the chemical spill took a relatively short time and nature very quickly bounced back.

“When millions of litres of poisonous sludge poured out of a zinc mine in Andalucia in 1998 wildlife was devastated for miles around. As the tidal wave of filth headed for the marshlands of Donana National Park it became a disaster for Europe as well as Spain. The prime route for birds migrating between Africa and Northern Europe seemed certain to be poisoned for decades to come.

Sixteen years on from Spain’s worst environmental disaster Julian Rush returns to the region to discover how nature, with a little help, has reclaimed much of the devastated area. The birds have returned and flocks of British birdwatchers are enthusiastically following the Imperial Eagles, Griffon Vultures and millions of birds on their spring migration back to the UK. Laurence Rose of the RSPB shares his memories of the disaster and shows Julian the path of the pollution which has become a lush, green feeding ground for resting birds.

The idyll, however, may be short-lived. Illegal boreholes dug to water enormous strawberry farms that export their produce to Northern Europe are sucking the life out of the marshes. Tourism is impinging on the wilderness and there are even advanced plans to resume mining at the site of the accident. With Andalucia desperate for jobs and foreign currency the local government is anxious to boost the region’s industrial sector. Finding the best balance between industry and nature is vital for the future prosperity of this stunning area and for the exhausted birds that make their way across the Sahara to Britain’s shores.” (Source BBC)

Listen to the program Costing the Earth here…

And join in on the conversation over at the Iberianature Forum

New Iberian wolf census called for.

April 8th, 2014 by Clive Muir

lobo_iberico2The governing Partido Popular party of Spain have called for a national census of the Iberian wolf which is about time too as the last reliable census was taken in 1988. The Government will create an updated population census on the Iberian peninsular but presumably this won’t include Portugal. This census will then help to implement a national strategy for the conservation and management of the Iberian wolf and would serve as a key instrument for the conservation and efficient management of the species.

There are claims that some of the major regions with populations of wolf have conflicting management plans For example, the Iberian wolf is a game species north of the Duero, Castilla y León and Galicia But in Asturias sport hunting for this species is not allowed. Sport hunting no but “control” yes. On the 21st of August 2013 “Matley” a wolf that was fitted with a transmitter and part of a scientific monitoring project was “controlled”

“We believe that there should be detailed studies on the status of the wolf in Spain and it’s coexistence with other species and this information will help to avoid unwarranted persecution and also to allow better coordination of conservation plans across the country.”

Here is an (outdated but good information page on the Iberian Wolf)

Here is the article on the subject in Spanish

And of course the Wolf topic over at Iberianature Forum…

The worldwide Environmental Justice Atlas (Spain)

April 7th, 2014 by Clive Muir

map-eco-issuesI have just come across this very interesting interactive map of environmental issues in Spain. Right now the map pinpoints 35 conflicts around the country that are of concern. Issues such as the mega-infrastructure projects of the Ciudad Real airport and Ports, to utility projects such as those over high tension electricity lines, incinerators and conflicts driven by tourism and its related infrastructure.

The problems over tourism and recreation projects are for me very interesting especially in Andalucia (as thats where I am located.) Two projects in particular, the Valdevaqueros hotel and housing project in Tarifa and the proposed government sell off of the enormous Almoraima estate whose land connects to the stunning natural park of Alcornocales (The largest cork forest in the world) Other problems are a waste incineration plant in Cordoba and in Huelva, the industrial chemical processing plant.

The map has a lot of background information about these projects and the articles are well researched and written. The map is not restricted to Spain and allows users to browse the world’s environmental conflicts, by country, commodity, company involved and type of conflict. I’m sure this map will get a lot bigger and in depth as more data gets added….

Click here to go to the Spain Interactive map

And join the discussion about the subject over at the Iberianature Forum