Castilla_La Mancha

Articles in ‘Castilla_La Mancha’

Tablas de Damiel doomed?

November 26th, 2014

 

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

Cuenca dinosaur linked to birds

September 8th, 2010 http://www.elpais.com/recorte/20100908elpepusoc_2/LCO340/Ies/Hallado_nuevo_dinosaurio_Cuenca.jpg The most complete fossil of a dinosaur is Spain has been found in Las Hoyas dig in Cuenca. Concavenator corcovatus is a previously unknown species of carnivore that lived in the Lower Cretaceous some 130m years ago. El País The beast sports a hump-like structure on its back hence its nickname “the humpback dinosaur”, and a series of small knobs on the forearm which appear to be a link to birds:
The bumps could be analagous to the parts of modern birds’ skeletons that anchor the flight feathers. Since the knobs are unlikely to be representative of feathers on Concavenator, the researchers propose instead that they are “non-scale skin appendages”, such as tubular filaments, present in modern-day poultry. The Guardian

Once upon a time in Daimiel

October 24th, 2009

As the Tablas de Daimiel struggle desperately to survive the underground peat fires and dessication, and with just 1% remaining of this once world-class wetland, I thought it was worth remembering how they were seen one hundred years ago by Chapman and Buck in their classic hunting travelogue Unexplored Spain.

Isolated thus, a mere speck of water in the midst of the arid table-lands of central Spain, yet these lagoons of Daimiel constitute not only one of the chief wildfowl resorts of Spain, but possibly of all Europe. Upon these waters there occur from time to time every species of aquatic game that is known in this Peninsula, while in autumn the duck-tribe in countless hosts congregate in nearly all their European varieties. Read Complete text of Chapman and Buck –  Unexplored Spain 1910

Listen also to Érase un vez – a soundscape of Daimiel. Photo by Greenpeace.

Latest lynx brief by Dan Ward

December 18th, 2008

Dan Ward has sent me his latest Lynx Brief, the essential periodic review in English of the state of the Iberian Lynx.

This issue looks at, among other topics, the international Iberian lynx seminar, current Iberian lynx numbers, plans for Iberian lynx reintroductions, inappropriate predator control, declines in wild rabbits and transparency of information in Castilla -La Mancha.

Some highlights which I have cropped from the original:

  • On lynx numbers As reported at the III International Seminar, Iberian Lynx recovery has continued well in the Sierra Morena area just north of Andújar, Andalucía, with 40 breeding females, 55 cubs born in 2008 and 150 individuals overall. This compares with 18 females, 22 cubs and 60 individuals in 2002….As a result of this increase, the lynx area in Andújar-Cardeña has probably reached its carrying capacity and thus could provide animals for future reintroductions elsewhere. This is an unexpected, welcome and important achievement, not least because it is generally preferable to reintroduce felines bred in the wild rather than those bred in captivity (if possible) because they are more likely to be fully adapted to living in the wild.
  • In addition to these in situ achievements in the Sierra Morena, the ex situ captive breeding programme has also progressed well, with 52 individuals, 24 of which were bred in captivity.
    Moreover, the ex situ population will also be able to provide 20 to 40 individuals per year for  reintroductions, from 2010. Finally, in Doñana, the lynx population seems to have remained steady in recent years, with around 50 individuals reported in total each year between 2002 and 2008. This is despite the loss of at least 9 individuals to Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) in 2007, thanks partly to the successful translocation of a breeding male lynx from Andújar-Cardeña to Doñana in December 2007
    (see LynxBrief no. 10 and 11). Moreover, a second lynx was successfully translocated into Doñana in November 2008.
  • On predator control Much of Spain and Portugal is used extensively for hunting, and this is especially true of current and potential lynx areas; e.g. 70% of Spain is covered by hunting estates (used by over 1 million registered hunters), and the majority of lynx living in the wild are situated in such estates. Moreover, techniques used by gamekeepers and landowners to kill, especially, rabbit and partridge predators have been strongly implicated in the past decline of the Iberian Lynx, and the on-going decline of many other species. For example, it is suspected that the 1990s extinction of the lynx population in Montes de Toledo, central Spain (where good habitat and rabbit populations remain) was due to the widespread use of leg traps and snares in the area.
  • On rabbits and lynx One of the key obstacles to reversing rabbit decline has been that rabbits, and rabbit conservation, in Spain and Portugal have not been given the profile and attention they deserve….Fortunately, this situation has recently changed. In Portugal in 2006, national authorities re-classified the European Rabbit as “Near Threatened”, and in Spain in 2007, the species was re-classified by national authorities as “Vulnerable”. Moreover, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) has also, just this year, re-classified the European Rabbit globally in its native range (Spain, Portugal and parts of north Africa) from “Least Concern” to “Near Threatened”.
  • Castilla – La Mancha and transparency a lack of transparency of information has also been a key obstacle to Iberian Lynx conservation in recent years. A very current example, discussed at the International Seminar, was the presence of lynx in Castilla – La Mancha….The Castilla – La Mancha authorities have argued that they cannot release the location of their lynx because they fear attracting too many nature watchers to these areas. However, the precise location of lynx in Andalucía has been widely publicised for many years without a detrimental impact from the public….It has been alleged that the real reason that the Castilla – La Mancha government do not want to publicise the location of their lynx is actually because they are reluctant to share knowledge (and thus power), or because of a fear on the part of landowners that public knowledge of lynx presence will increase pressure for restrictions on the current use of predator  control methods. Moreover, it has also been alleged that at least one of the locations of lynx in Castilla – La Mancha is a large estate bordering Andalucía, owned by a British Lord, who allegedly has considerable influence over local authorities.

Read the Lynx Brief 12

Photo from the Iberian lynx recovery programme.

Outlook optimistic for lynx

December 1st, 2008

Photo from La Olivilla centre in Jaén (EFE). The latest news on the Iberian lynx bodes well for the future of the species. Speaking at the III Seminario de Conservación del Lince Ibérico in November. Urs Breitenmoser, feline expert with the World Conservation Union stated “We have gone from a critical reality of extinction to a situation of just vulnerability. El Pais.

This year a total of 82 Iberian lynx were born, including 21 in captivity, and including cubs there now may be as many as 200 lynxes in Spain, up from 100 in 2002. In addition, more than 50 lynxes are doing their bit in the various captive breeding centres. A record 13 cubs born in captivity have survived this year. The first releases of captive lynxes in the wild are set for autumn 2009 in Guadalmellato, Cordoba. El Mundo There is, however, still a very, very long way to go. It is worth remember that as late as the early 1960s there were still between 5,000 and 6,000 iberian lynxes in the Peninsula.

Meanwhile, the Junta de Castilla-La Mancha has confirmed the presence of lynxes the Montes de Toledo made up of at least 15 animals and 3 breeding territories. The photo below was taken by an automatic camera tracking these Castillian lynxes, which well provide vital genetic variation to the Doñana and Sierra Morena lynxes. El Mundo

Iberian lynx in Central Spain – new relict populations?

August 5th, 2008

A study published by researchers from CSIC this month in Animal Conservation (Looking for the Iberian lynx in central Spain: a needle in a haystack?) examines the possible relict populations of Iberian lynx outside the two known populations of lynx in the Sierra Morena and Doñana. To determine the current distribution of Iberian lynx outside the two recognized populations, the team surveyed five different areas between 2004 and 2007 where the species is considered extinct and collected 581 faeces for the genetic identification of the species. They identified 18 samples as belonging to Iberian lynx in four out of the five areas studied (including the area , providing clear evidence for the presence of lynx in central Spain. In some areas the species was detected repeatedly at different localities and on different dates, indicating a regular occurrence of an unknown number of individuals. Crucially, five new haplotypes have been found which appear to confirm these are genetically distinct animals from new populations and not dispersed animals.

These areas were studied. Lynx scats were found in the first four

  • Montes de Toledo
  • Sierra del Relumbrar
  • Western Sierra Morena
  • Río Guadalmez (Ciudad Real), where lynxes were recorded last year and where it appears there is a population of 12-18 individuals. See Lynx in Castilla-La Mancha (from Lynx brief)
  • Sierra de Gata. No signs found despite numerous attempts.

As biologist Fernando Alda points out the data proves that they are at least “out there” and that even though they are in very small number they could provide valuable genetic variability to the two main populations of Doñana and Andújar. He also believes they should also be considered as areas for reintroduction.

I haven’t seen the full article on which this story is based though I am sure that more details will come out. My doubt was, as with the River Guadalmez lynxes, whether we are talking about relict populations or a individuals which have dispersed from the Sierra Morena stronghold of Andújar-Cardoña. But the five new haplotypes appear to confirm these are genetically distinct animals which would provide a valuable increase in genetic variability for the lynx.

See also El Público

  • Photo above from ex situ Iberian lynx conservation programme. Here

Iberian wolf summer exhibitions

July 23rd, 2008

Two exhibitions are running concurrently this summer in Spain to reveal the truth behind the myths that still abound regarding the Iberian wolf, Canis lupus signatus. Organised by Carlos Sanz, one of the leading Spanish defenders of the species, they will run until at least the end of August and are well worth a visit. Here are the addresses and opening times;

In the city of Guadalajara, Castilla La Mancha the exhibition is open to the public from 11.00 – 14.00, Monday to Friday in the Teatro Auditorio “Buero Vallejo”, Calle Cifuentes, 30.

In Asturias, the larger of the two exhibitions can be visited in the town of Belmonte de Miranda from 11.00 – 14.00 and from 16.00 – 20.00, every day.

Iberian wolf exhibition in Belmonte, Asturias

Spanish imperial eagle webcam

May 6th, 2008

Here’s another great live webcam, this time on a Spanish imperial eagle’s nest in Cabañeros National Park (Ciudad Real). At the moment of posting this the chick is less one month old. The aim is to raise awareness of the importance of the conservation of the Spanish imperial eagle.

Spain currently has 234 pairs of imperial eagles, 34 more than in 2006, of which 73 are found in Castilla-La Mancha. The bird’s principal threats are poison and power lines; between 1990 and 2007 at least 95 birds were poisoned and a further 130 were electrocuted. The lack of rabbits is also a problem. More information from aguilaimperial.org

See also Bonelli’s eagle webcam in El Garraf

Latest lynx brief

April 23rd, 2008

Dan Ward has just sent me the latest and as usual excellent Lynx Brief (pdf). This issue looks at:

  • The serious situation for the lynx in Doñana whose population seems to be going from bad to worse. He calls for an action plan to combat:

– High traffic speeds and volumes
– Habitat loss to intensive agriculture
– Apparent mismanagement of protected areas
– The population’s small size and low diversity
– Conflicting attitudes amongst local people

This is all undoubtedly true but I personally feel the greatest threat to the lynx in Doñana is the extremely low rabbit population across the park which is forcing young lynx to disperse into conflictive areas. Despite being increasingly hemmed in by infrastructure, Doñana is still big and wild enough to support a far larger and almost sustainable lynx population than now, as indeed it did until myxamatosis arrived.

  • The Iberian Lynx captive breeding programme is advancing well, both in terms of more captive breeding success, and in terms of actions and plans made for: further captive breeding centres, and; the planned reintroduction of captively bred animals in the future.
  • Lynx presence in Cuidad Real, Castilla-La Mancha with a population of 15 individuals, including 3 reproductive females, 2 adult males, 4 sub-adults and 6 cubs

Cuidad Real province borders the area of northern Andalucía with current lynx presence (Andújar – Cardeña). This, combined with the fact that extensive surveys conducted over previous years failed to confirm lynx presence, suggests that the lynx in Castilla-La Mancha are individuals dispersed from northern Andalucía rather than a separate remnant population. Unofficial suggestions have been made that the photographed lynx come from a specific private hunting estate bordering Andalucía in southern Cuidad Real province, which, if true, would confirm the hypothesis that these animals dispersed from Andalucía. Unfortunately, however, the regional government has
refused to confirm the precise location of these lynx. The Castilla-La Mancha government has justified withholding this information so as to protect the lynxes’ habitat. However, the reverse would seem to be true. The precise location of lynxes in Andalucía has been widely publicised for several years without apparent detrimental impact upon their habitat. Moreover, it would seem that accurate and openly-available information about lynx presence has been key to allowing effective lynx conservation in Andalucía through co-ordination, lobbying, conservation projects, research and outreach.

Also check out Dan’s recommendation for the new soslynx.org website with some beautiful photos and videos.

Castilla-La Mancha to breed lynx in Captivity

November 10th, 2007

The Junta de Castilla-La Mancha have announced that they are to open a breeding centre for Iberian lynx in the Parque Nacional de Cabañeros. Meanwhile, they have also released a photo of lynx they claim was taken in front of an automatic camera last Thursday and did not run although the the flash continued to fire. (El Pais) The Junta have also released figures for the population in CLM – 3 breeding females, 2 males, 4 sub-adults and 6 cubs. The lynxes are somewhere in Ciudad Real and may be animals which have dispersed from Sierra Morena in Andalucia, and perhaps mixed with a relict population in CLM. This would be very good news as it would mean that the Sierra Morena lynxes are expanding more than previously believed.