Pyrenees

Articles in ‘Pyrenees’

Eurasian lynx in Spain

December 15th, 2016

A couple of interesting recent developments on the old presence of the Eurasian lynx in Spain and its hopeful reintroduction. It is thought the animal would have co-existed with the very edge of the Iberian lynxes range in northern Spain and the Pyrenees.

The possible presence well into the 20th century of the so-called gatillop in the Catalan Pyrenees as the animal is known in Catalan has long been discussed. There is now a Catalan government plan, as yet to be carried out, to release Eurasian lynxes in the Vall D’Aran in the Pyrenees. More here (2016)

Evidence now shows that the Eurasian lynx existed in Northern Spain in the Cantabrian mountains until at least 400 years ago. (2015 RTVE)

 

Albera cows

December 1st, 2016

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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.

Roger Deakin in the Albera

November 26th, 2016

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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.

Pyrenean bear cubs

November 3rd, 2013

Image taken by camera trap of female bear with two cubs born this summer in the Vall d’Aran in the Catalan Pyrenees. The adult bear is called Hvala, a Slovenian bear released in the Pyrenees in 2008. Source: cronicaverde

The last autochthonous Pyrenean bear dead?

October 28th, 2010

It appears that Camille, the last autochthonous Pyrenean bear, may have died, after 9 months without any sign of him. His death at the age of 20 comes as no surprise but is a sad symbol of the disappearance of bears in the range.  Now the hope lies in the 20 or so bears which have introduced (or born of introduced animals) in the Pyrenees by the French government from Slovenia. In the photo Camille sits next to the tasty feast of a dead wild boar, somewhere in the Navarran Pyrenees. 20 minutos

This article from Wildlife Extra is also interesting. New research suggests Cantabrian female brown bears do not hibernate while cubs are still young proves anecdotal evidence first recorded many centuries ago.

Bear breeding success in Pyrenees

August 3rd, 2010

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Bears in the Pyrenees have had their best breeding year for decades this year with two females raisning two cubs each, in territories between Vall d’Aran and y los departamentos franceses de Ariège y Alto Garona. El Periódico

Effect of forest fire on birds in the Pyrenees

July 6th, 2010
Spanish researchers have assessed the impact of the burning of a scrubland area of broom on the birds of the Catalan Pyrenees. By analyzing a period of 50 years following the fire, the scientists found that the birds that recover most slowly are those that live in the high mountain areas. For many of them, this recovery takes more than one or two decades following the fire. Science Daily

Bears spotted close to Pyrenean tourist area

July 2nd, 2010 Foto de la Noticia Three bears have been spotted by wildlife photographer Oriol Alemany close to a tourist area in the Vall d’Aran. The two sub-adults and one adult are almost certainly Hvala and her offspring Nhèu’ y ‘Noisette’. The animals are being tracked to reduce the risk of tourists disturbing them. Here

France wants Cantabrian bears for Pyrenees

June 9th, 2010

France has asked the Spanish government for Cantabrian bears to help repopulate the Pyrenees, where less than 20 animals survive. Given the fragile state of the Cantabrian population this is unlikely to be agreed. La Crónica Verde

In the photo the bear called Camille sits next to the tasty feast of a dead wild boar, somewhere in the Pyrenees.

Black vultures in the Pyrenees

June 9th, 2010

The Black Vulture Aegypius monachus is currently being reintroduced in the Catalan Pyrenees. Some 27 individuals were released between 2007 and 2009 in the Alinyà area. Each bird is being tracked: 15 regularly use the area, 3 are dispersing, 7 have been found dead and 3 are missing. A chick born on 25th April at one of the release sites was was the first to be born in the region since the late 19th century. Black Vultures in the Pyrenees

Note: SEO made the black vulture its Ave del Año for 2010.