Wolves expanding in Catalonia

April 5th, 2011 | by nick |

The wolf appears to have firmly returned to Catalonia after an absence of more than 70 years. In the last few years a dozen  or so animals have been gradually arriving from France (see below) and settled in the Pyrenees, and have even reached as far south as the Vallés Oriental. The news  was released in the latest issue of the Spanish wildlife journal Quercus which reports the presence of up to 13 different individuals, some identified only once and others that appear and disappear depending on the  year.  However, so far all animals have been males, except for a female detected in 2008. This  is a common pattern, as young males tend to be the first to disperse, which explains in part why so far there is no evidence of breeding in Catalonia.The wolves have been detected in across an area of some 1,400 square kilometers in the Cadi mountains and other surrounding mountain ranges in Alt Urgell, Cerdanya, Alt Solsonès, and Berguedà. Unsurprisingly, the animal’s return has revived the traditional conflict with farmers and in the early years there was an average annual loss of about 80 head of livestock, although in some years more than 200 were lost. These attacks on livestock, for which farmers are compensated, have declined dramatically following various protective measures: just 3 sheep were lost in 2009 and 10 in 2010. ABC + Photo from here

 

How long before they reach Barcelona’s Collserola I wonder.

I wrote this last year

Tests have shown that this new influx of wolves in Catalonia is genetically Italian in origin, forming part of an expansion over a number generations out from the Apennines. The Apennine population began to expand in several directions from the early 1990’s. It moved north into the Italian and Swiss Alps; north-east into the French Alps and Lyon, and east towards the Pyrenees, reaching the Maritime Alps near Nice by 1996, Saboya by 1998. An individual was detected between Areja and French Cerdenya by August 1998 in the Madres Massif, just to the north of Canigó, and finally by 2004 into the Cadí range. The last Catalan wolf was shot in Horta de Sant Joan, in Tarragona in 1929, though the animal is thought to have disappeared from the Sierra de Cadí more than 100 years ago

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