Hunting losing popularity in Spain

December 5th, 2016 by nick

mosaico_de_las_tiendas_mnar_merida

The number of registered hunters in Spain as of 2015 was 333,000, a fall of 24% in 5 years, a trend that has continued for the last 30 years. And those that still still hunt do so less. Rural depopulation is clearly a factor though I suspect the biggest reason is that the rural youth are losing interest as there are just more things to do today. El País.

I had a student a few years back whose father ran a farm some 70km to the north of Barcelona. Although Pere’s father stopped hunting many years ago, most of Josep’s  friends still hunted – mainly wild boar, but none of their children – Pere included – had taken up the pastime. My partner Mónica also pointed out that many younger women are no longer  prepared to do all the back work, that which never gets mentioned, involved after hunting such as skinning the hares and plucking the partridges.

Image of wild boar hunt from a Roman mosiac found in Mérida [Mosaico de Las Tiendas (MNAR Mérida)]

A Spanish Shepherd by Richard Ansdell

December 1st, 2016 by nick

richard_ansdell_-_a_spanish_shepherd_1863

A Spanish Shepherd (1863) by Liverpool-born Richard Ansdell. The artist had travelled in southern Spain in the 1850s.

 

Albera cows

December 1st, 2016 by nick

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Just 400-odd Albera cows survive, living semi-feral and calving in the wild in the Serra de l’Albera in the Catalan Pyrenees. They are a short, stocky breed now protected by law and employed by the Catalan government to graze the undergrowth and reduce fire risk.

Lynx controls predators

November 30th, 2016 by nick

lynx-predator-control

Leaflet graphically illustrating among other things why the presence of Iberian lynx in an area, whose diet is more than 90% rabbit, means 4 times as many rabbits and partridges as it sytematically eliminates other predators such as fox and mongoose. Found here

Roger Deakin in the Albera

November 26th, 2016 by nick

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Roger Deakin wrote about the Albera mountains in his wonderful Wildwood a journey around the woodlands of Britain and the world, published in 2006 just before his death.

Autumn comes late to the wooded southerly slopes of the Spanish Pyrenees. The mountains are a natural climatic boundary between the rest of Europe to the north and the African Sahara to the south. My friend Andrew Sanders and I have climbed through the leafy fireworks of mixed beech, oak, maple, chestnut and hazel woods in a bright-blue morning up a steep track from Cantallops, an agricultural village in the foothills, to Requesens, a hamlet that is really a long farmhouse, extended down the generations, with a small bar-cum-restaurant, the Cantina, in one end.

Coming in sight of the place, we enter the circle of a hillside wood pasture of cork oaks. A dozen white geese graze outside a two-storey wooden shed with a worn staircase visible inside. Some of the oaks are deep ox-blood red where the sock of cork has recently been peeled, the year’s last two digits painted white on the tree as a reminder of its next date, in just under a decade, with the cork-harvesters. The grass is well trodden and manured with crusty cowpats. This is the home pasture for the cattle now out browsing in the woods. Entering the level farmyard, we are greeted by four dogs. An old mongrel bitch ambles over gently. The others, barking half heartedly, are chained beneath a big horse chestnut. A pointer slinks away back into the shadow of a firewood store under the house. One half of the old stone building is a magnificent ruin like a monastery, in the shade of a giant plane tree and a small lawn above the rocky ramparts looking south for miles across the hazy Catalan hills all the way to the sea.

I took the photo in early November on the same route he took.

Origin of Sanabria

November 24th, 2016 by nick

Sanabria lake

Lake Sanabria on a stormy day in April. This is the largest glacial lake in Spain formed during the last Ice Age though the local legend claims a more colourful origin.

On a cold wintery day, a man arrived at the village of Valverde de Lucerna. He was starving and asked for something to eat, but the menfolk told him to be gone. They did not want his kind in their village. Some women baking bread though took pity on him and gave a few crusts. He bade the women to take to the hills, and then he took his staff and drove into the ground commanding water to rise from the hole. Out it gushed, flooding the village and drowning all the men. The waters continued to rise until the lake was formed. All that remained of the village was the roof tip of the bakery, which now forms the little island in the centre of the lake.

8 wolves culled at the Cabárceno Natural Park

December 11th, 2014 by Clive Muir

Lobos en el recinto de Cabárceno / Teresa Cobo

Lobos en el recinto de Cabárceno / Teresa Cobo

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting news that people are up in arms about the 8 wolves shot last month at the Cabárceno natural park/zoo…

It’s a difficult decision but if you can’t let the wolves out into the wild and the captive population is too big for it’s confines then it seems to me the only option is culling…

Full news in Spanish here…

Follow and join in on the topic over at the Iberianature Forum

Diclofenac NSAIDS and Spanish Vultures..

November 27th, 2014 by Clive Muir

Griffon Vulture

Griffon Vulture – Clive Muir – www.wildsideholidays.com

Back in 2008 on the Iberia Nature forum we started a topic about the use of Diclofenac in Asia and, as the drug was about to be used in Europe, it stayed in the Spain sections rather than going in the “other places” boards… And it seems with good reason. If you fancy trawling through the wealth of information about this subject then the main topic is here.

Apart from this amazing topic on the forum pretty much everything you need to know now about this disgusting drug proven to kill vultures in their millions can be found over at the Vulture foundation…. Loads of papers and up to date news…

As the deadline for a final decision by the EU Commission on banning veterinary diclofenac approaches, vultures really need you.

Veterinary diclofenac is extremely toxic to vultures, and has been banned from the Indian subcontinent after causing a 95-99% decline of several vulture species there. Incredibly, it has been approved for use on livestock in Italy and Spain.

The Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) has been leading a campaign, together with other organisations, to ban this drug in Europe too: given the existence of a non-toxic alternative (Meloxicam), common sense suggests a precautionary approach should be taken.

We had therefore asked the EU Commission to start a procedure for the withdrawal of an authorized veterinary medicinal drug which affects Community interests, Under Article 35 of Veterinary Medicines Directive (2001/82/EC). You can see more details about veterinary diclofenac, its impacts, and the whole campaign, here

http://www.4vultures.org/2014/11/25/vultures-need-you-please-write-to-your-meps-about-veterinary-diclofenac/

http://www.4vultures.org/our-work/campaigning-to-ban-diclofenac-in-europe/

Follow them on facebook as well
https://www.facebook.com/vultureconservationfoundation

The Caminito del Rey, El Chorro

November 26th, 2014 by Clive Muir

The new Caminito del Rey

The new Caminito del Rey

Interesting news coming from Malaga province of Andalucia with the Caminito del Rey or “Kings path” almost about to reopen. The Caminito is famous to climbers and adrenalin junkies the world over after the death defying video was loaded onto you tube in 2009.

The pathway was originally built over 100 years ago, pinned to the side of the Gaitanes gorge to get materials and to allow for inspections between the three Guadalhorce dams.

But now, with a total investment of around 11 million Euros, the broken and dangerous path has been restored and is due to open to the public in January 2015. Not without it’s polemics as local climbers (and worldwide) are complaining that their favorite European radical climbing site will be spoiled with the influx of thousands of us ordinary folk wanting to walk the new and safe path. Time will tell what happens but one thing is for sure, this tiny village of El Chorro needs to get ready for mass tourism fairly quickly.

Full informaation (in English) over at www.caminodelrey.es

Tablas de Damiel doomed?

November 26th, 2014 by Clive Muir

 

Tablas Daimiel - Coca Cola

Tablas Daimiel – Coca Cola

Well, it looks like the Tablas will be saved after all!, The mighty Coca Cola company are throwing their not inconsiderable weight behind the protection and future of these wetlands….

Do we think that Coca Cola can do a better job than 20 odd years of National Park status and hundreds of millions of funding already from EU, local and national levels?.. Time will tell but I find the whole idea really weird..

More from Coca Cola with the promo video in Spanish here.

UPDATE. It would seem a shadow of doubt has been cast on Coca Colas work at the Tablas de Daimiel…. Latest news on the forum from one of our members living and working there… It makes a good read that’s for sure.

Below is the news from 2009

The last chapter of the sad demise of the Tablas de Damiel, once one of Spain’s most important birding sites, makes depressing reading.  The underground fossil peat deposits had been on fire for several weeks. The lagoons have suffered over the years from the building of thousands of agricultural irrigation wells which have caused the water table to drop to the level of the peat, which was then  heated up over the summer and started to self-combust. El País

The Guardian  also reported on this story at the time.

Spanish wetlands shrouded in smoke as overfarming dries out peat. National park which was once a ‘paradise’ now on fire and churning out tonnes of CO2. They are meant to be Spain’s most important inland wetlands, but yesterday the lagoons at Las Tablas de Daimiel national park were not just dry, they were burning. Stilted walkways stood on baked earth and rowing boats lay stranded on the ground. Observation huts revealed no birds, just an endless stretch of reeds rooted in cracked mud.

And the iberianature forum is thundering. Here’s Clive on the topic “This will certainly be the first national park in Spain to be declassified due to a complete failure on the part of government, local authorities and local people…. And what next… Do we see Doñana go the same way in 10 years? What did they do with all the money…. The whole situation is a bad joke…. And what next? Once de classified it will be a fine place for a casino city maybe? Golf courses…. have to kick start the economy you know….”

See also: Environmental groups slate Las Tablas de Daimiel and Los Humedales de La Mancha