Conservation

Articles in ‘Conservation’

Diclofenac NSAIDS and Spanish Vultures..

November 27th, 2014

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

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

Trapping birds with limesticks – ‘paranys’

April 23rd, 2014

dying-birdSometimes it is hard to know what to write. I want to write about positive things and I want to show people what an amazing country I have chosen to make my home. I have many friends that work hard to protect the stunning place that is called Iberia. However, sometimes I am left speechless with a writers block that I fear will never become unstuck… Even though the press release from The Committee Against Bird Slaughter is (CABS) is over a year old I have spoken to a few people living in the Valencia area and they tell me that the practice of bird trapping with glue continues as normal… My mind will become unstuck and soon I will write again. the birds caught in these awful traps I am afraid have a different fate waiting for them.

For the first time ever CABS volunteers have managed to film the massacre with low-light cameras. “The material demonstrates that thousands of wild birds are cruelly killed and that numerous protected and endangered species are among the victims” states CABS President Heinz Schwarze. The video shows Thrushes and Blackcaps loudly and in panic fighting for their lives among the corpses of the conspecifics.

The website about this subject can be found here and you will see a link at the bottom of that page to sign a letter to be sent to the authorities… Do it now please?

And of course the subject can be discussed over at the Iberianature Forum

Thanks.

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

April 10th, 2014

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

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

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

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

The use of poison in Spain…. What is it killing?

March 21st, 2014

aparecen-envenenadas-1With the latest news coming from Zamora that includes a Spanish Imperial eagle, amongst other carrion birds, killed from the consequences of poisoning, I thought I’d have a search around the net for similar news and information.

The Vulture Conservation Council has an interesting page explaining the use of poisons that has affected Spanish Vultures.

A large number of vulture deaths in Europe can be attributed every year to poisoning, arguably the most important threat impacting on vultures today. Figures from Spain are illustrative – data from the Spanish ministry of agriculture show that between the years 2000 and 2010 a total of 40 bearded vultures, 638 black vultures, 348 Egyptian vultures and 2,146 griffon vultures were found poisoned. (The recent extinction of the bearded vulture in the Balkan Peninsula was largely due to extensive poisoning campaigns against wolves and jackals.) Read the rest of this entry

Diclofenac the Vulture killing drug is now available on EU market

March 9th, 2014

griffonUnbelievably, this news comes as a surprise to many vets, biologists and very experienced people working in the world of Spanish wildlife. Diclofenac is a powerful anti-inflammatory drug that has wiped out vulture populations in India, Pakistan and Nepal. Now, a repeat of this ecological disaster is threatening Europe. Despite the fact that safe alternative drugs are readily available, Diclofenac has been authorised for use on domestic animals in Italy, and in Spain where 80% of European vultures live, and is now becoming widely available on the EU market. According to experts in SEO/BirdLife (BirdLife in Spain), RSPB (BirdLife UK) and the Vulture Conservation Foundation, this may cause a European mass die off of endangered and ecologically valuable wildlife….

Read the rest of this entry

Bald ibis reintroduction

June 12th, 2010

Bizarre photo of the month goes to the people involved in the bald ibis reintroduction programme, who released six birds this week in the Sierra de Retín (Cádiz), making a total of 24 so far this year, and 215 since the proyecto Eremita began. El País. Note: the hats, in addition to an essential fashion item this summer in Cadiz, are part of the plot to confuse the birds that they have been raised by ibises not humans.

The aim is to reintroduce the bird to areas where it has become extinct and to strengthen existing wild populations in North Africa. The last definite reference to the bald ibis breeding in Spain is from a 15th century falcony book.

See also Bald Ibis breed in Spain for first time in 500 years