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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….

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Glaciers to disappear in the Pyrenees by 2050

September 6th, 2008

Glaciar de Monteperdido in the Aragonese Pyrenees (El País)

A Spanish study published in The Holocene has concluded that the progressive rise in temperatures since 1890 will lead to the total disappearance of the Pyrenean glaciers by 2050.

Glaciers advanced during the Little Ice Age (LIA) between 1300 and 1860 in the Pyrenees, Picos de Europa and Sierra Nevada. These were most extensive in the Pyrenees (because of altitude and latitude) but today glaciers remain only in the highest peaks. There were six glaciers in the Picos de Europa Massif during the LIA, and one glacier, the southernmost of Europe, in the Sierra Nevada (Pico de Veleta). All of these glaciers have been in continuous retreat since the end of the nineteenth century, 94 have disappeared completely (Veleta in 1913), leaving 29 glaciers in the Pyrenees (10 in Spain, 11 in France), four buried icepatches in the Picos de Europa and one buried icepatch in the Sierra Nevada. The last 15 years has seen a 50-60% reduction in surface area of the largest glaciers.

The Little Ice Age was not a continuous period of cold. These Iberian glaciers expanded most rapidly between 1645 and 1710, and then shrunk between 1750 and the early 19th century but then recovered after a new cold period. Since the end of the 19th century temperatures have risen more sharply by 0.7ºC and 0.9ºC in the mountains in northern Spain in line with global warming. El País

See also

  • Climate guide to Spain
  • The Little Ice Age in Spain
  • Glaciers in Spain (2004) Spanish glaciers melting fast Greenpeace has released a report on the state of Spain’s glaciers. The glaciers on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees are melting fast.. Total surface area has dropped from 1779 hectares in 1894 to 290 in 2000, representing a fall of 85% in of surface area. 52% of this has occurred in the last 20 years, and 30% between 1991 and 2001.

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 summer

August 7th, 2007

I’ve had a series of problems with the blog over the last few days, which have yet to be entirely resolved. None of themes seem to work apart from this one, Spanish accents have been rendered into nonsense, bold randomly appears and the links have disappeared. Never mind. Back in two weeks and will sort it out then.

Main iberianture site is here

Spain nature news – April 2007

April 18th, 2007
  • Â 26/04 Reintroduced bear in French Pyrenees has two cubs. Photo Hvala, the mother, shortly after being released in 2006. (El Mundo) See bears in Spain

  • 20/04 Illegal trapping impeding growth in Cantabrian bear numbers (FAPAS)
  • 18/04 Largest tree in Andalucia listed in Sierra de los Filabres, Almeria, remnant of an ancient Mediterranean forest. (El Mundo)

  • 16/04 Very hot dry February (INM)
  • 16/04 Almeria gazelles return to Senegal. (El Mundo). The Dorcas gazelles (Gazella dorcas neglecta) have been raised in Almeria as part of reintroduction programme. Video here El Pais More here from wikiepdia

  • 12/04 WWF claim 20,000 raptors poisoned in Spain in last 15 years! (El Mundo)
  • 11/04 Drought may be over. Reservoirs recovering (Consumer)
  • 10/04 Climate change to reduce rains in Spain by 40% (Consumer)
  • 10/04 Two more lynxes born in captivity making 7 surviving ones this year (Junta de Andalucia)
  • The two lynxes rejected by mother die (El Pais) . Rejection is common among first time mothers who “feel” they cannot raise cubs.
  • 02/04 Endemic Spanish Minnow ( Jarabugo – Anaecypris hispanica) under serious threat in Guadiana basin (El Pais)
  • 01/04 Wolves returning to Ávila and Segovia but under threat elsewhere (El Pais)
  • 01/04 Three more lynx cubs born in captivity but one is eaten by mother (El Pais)

Three lynx cubs born in captivity in Doñana

March 22nd, 2007

Great news! Three lynx cubs have been born in captivity in the El Acebuche centre in Doñana, the first this year. The parents are Aura, a female born in Doñana and Garfio, a male from Sierra Morena. Pairs are deliberately put together from different areas to increase DNA variety.

  First images of cubs

Video here from Canal Sur:

El Pais

 UPDATE Another lynx, Artemisa, unfortunately miscarried Here (El Mundo)Â

 In 2005 and 2006, nine cubs were born of which six survived. More are expected this year. See also http://www.iberianature.com/material/iberianlynxnews.htm

Phototrapping of wildlife

March 6th, 2007

03/03 Phototrapping of wildlife in Asturias (Fapas)

Wryneck and horseshoe whipsnake

February 21st, 2007

This spectacular photo was sent to me by Clive and Sue who run guided walking tours in the Sierra de Grazalema . The wryneck lost the fight with the horseshoe whipsnake. It ate the chicks and the nest was abandoned. Some more great stuff from them in the next few days.

Â

Jan-Feb-March

January 18th, 2007

29/03 Waterbirds delay their migration to Spain (El Mundo -30/03 And general trend is for birds to arrive earlier from Africa (El pais)

  • 29/03 Bear traps found in Somiedo (El Mundo )
  • 25/03 Wolves in Andújar (Fapas)
  • 18/03 Montfragüe declated National Park (El Mundo)
  • 18/03 Lynx found dead died of infection (Terra)
  • 07/03 Black vulture to be reintroduced to Catalonia, making it only place in Europe with all four vultures (portaldelmedioambiente)
  • 05/03 Spain’s natural parks under threat from urbanism (El Pais)
    • 05/03 Spain’s natural parks under threat from urbanism (El Pais)

      01/03 Vole poisoning denounced as unselective (Terra)

      27/02 Reservoirs at 60%, 10 points above this time last year, though Segura and Júcar still critical (El Mundo).

      20/02 Tiger mosquito now present in 26 municipalies in Catalonia, a fourfold growth over 2005 (La Vanguardia) see Tiger Mosquitoes

      15/02 64 rare birds in Spain in January including this African crake (Rare Birds in Spain)

      14/02 Wolves being killed by snares in Galica (TVE video – click on Reproducir)

      14/02 Rainfall set to fall in Iberian Peninsula by up to 40% by 2070 (El Pais)

      14/02 Doñana scientists finally prove that rare greater noctule bat like the peregrine falcon feeds on passerine birds (El Mundo)

      12/02 Earthquake of 6.1 off Portuguese Coast hits Iberian Peninsula, the strongest since 1969. Buildings evacuated in Andalucia. (El Pais)

      12/02 Illegal hunting ring broken up in Sierra de Gredos (Forum)

      11/02 Experts defend declaration of bear areas as “remote” and therefore exempt from removal of carrion (LNE)

      11/02 Bears increasingly becoming acclimatised to areas of human activity (FAPAS)

      04/02 Predicted effects of climate change on Spain: less snow, less beaches, Arid climate of Almeria to spread to much of Andalucía & Castilla-La Mancha. Doñana threatened. Reduction in water resources of 5%- 14% before 2030 (El Pais)

      30/01 Worst storms in El Hierro’s history with 500mm in 36 hours decimates population of highly endangered El Hierro Giant Lizard. Only 102 survive of world pop. of 282 have survived (El Pais) 31/1 WWF classify disaster as internationally important (WWF)

      30/01 Oil Slick in Algeciras (forum) Demo. in Ronda 10/02 (forum)

      29/01 Iberian Lynx documentary on Cuatro at 21:30 Saturday 3rd (Cuatro)

      25/01 European storm petrel named SEO’s bird of the year for 2007. Some 5,000 breeding pairs live in Spain’s coasts (SEO) Previous birds of the year

      23/01 Galician wolves becoming increasingly “urban” as fire, and lack of prey and carrion drive them from country. Attacks on livestock are up. (Voz de Galicia)

      18/01 Pelican and spoonbill chicks in BCN zoo to hatch soon, months earlier than usual. Climate change blamed (La Vanguardia)

      17/01 300 sheep killed (photo below) in a stampede after vultures attack sheep in a pen in Loarre, Aragon (Alto Aragon). New attack kills eight in Aragon (Alto Aragon) Appears related to closure of vulture feeding stations. More here on forum

      16/01 Environment minister claims current drought, now in its third year, is worst in Spanish history (El Pais ) Aquifers are now at 25% of capacity.

      10/01 Situation of bears in French Pyrenees+use of chien patou guard dogs to protect flocks (Empreinte Ours 2 – PDF)

      10/01 Spanish met office (INE) doubts 2007 will be hottest year in modern history (Consumer)

      06/01 Situtation still critical for lynx despite the birth of 63 cubs in the wild in 2006 (El Mundo)

      06/01 63 rare birds recorded in December in Spain (Rare Birds in Spain)

      01/01 Climate change may be casuing many brown bears to stop hibernating in the Cantabrian mountains, the only to do so in Europe (The Independent) + (Fapas/El Pais)

      01/01 Dinosaur fossils in Teruel thought to be new giant (New York Times) + New species of dinosaur found in Castellon (Ambientum)