Archive for October, 2007

News briefs 2

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha and Andalucia are to have a single conservation programme for the lynx. (Terra). It seems utterly remarkable to me that they didn’t do this years ago. And still no more confirmation of the lynx in Castilla-La Mancha. What a strange story this is. The more and more people I talk to the more suspicious I become, but let us wait and see. Follow the forum thread for more on this or read the latest thoughts on the foro-linceiberico.

The population of wolves in Andalucia has “stabilized” at some 50 individuals in 6-9 groups, spread across the Sierra Morena (Sierra de Despeñaperros, Parque Natural Sierra de Andújar, Parque de Sierra Cardeña y Montoro and Parque Natural de Hornachuelos). The Andalusian government hope that there will be 200-300 wolves in the region with the next 15 years, which would provide a guarantee for the animal’s survival. Most of the wolves live in huge hunting estates with a very low human population. Wolves have been protected in Andalucia since 1986. (ABC)

Iberian Lynx in Castilla-la Mancha 2

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

As more information starts to come out, it seems that there may well be a population of Iberian lynx in Castilla-la Mancha. If true, this is incredibly good news for the species, and the most remarkable news about wildlife in Spain this year. It increases the lynx’s chance of recovery significantly because of increased distribution area, genetic diversity and sheer numbers. It seems La Junta de Castilla-la Mancha have been “secretly” monitoring lynxes for some time, and have now decided to make this public.  Detection has been made with photo-trapping and DNA analysis of scats. They seem to be saying that a significant number of are individuals have been found.

 In a piece on their own websitewritten a couple of years ago they stated they’re working on the detection and conservation of the Iberian lynx in the eastern Montes de Toledo: río Bullaque, arroyo Bullaquejo, Sierra de Picón, río Guadiana, Sierra Morena, Sierra del Relumbrar and río Guadalmena-Cerro Vico.

This is probably the area we’re talking about.

 More here from WWF who praise the pioneering work done by La Junta de Castilla-la Mancha in rabbit conservation, fundamental for the survival of the lynx. WWF note that it is essential to establish a ecological corridor between Sierra Morena and Montes de Toledo.

  • Why the secrecy? Perhaps they’ve kept quiet because these are big private estates and they don’t want the publicity. There are a number of unanswered questions though.
  • How many lynxes are there?
  • Did the other lynx authorities know about it?
  • I think it is good that CLM has announced the news. They are the maximum authority in charge of wildlife in the area and it means they are taking it seriously – how would the region of Madrid have reacted I wonder. BUT Why release the news now and why wasn’t it wasn’t co-ordinated, as Lisa on the forum, points out with environmental organisations and indeed with Astrid Vargas? More soon I’m sure.

More on the forum,8.msg6601.html#msg6601

Iberian Lynx in Castilla-la Mancha

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

STOP PRESS (as they say)

A front page article in El Pais is claiming that a “population” of lynxes has been found somewhere undisclosed in Castilla La-Mancha (Montes de Toledo? Sierra de Alcarza?), the first to be detected in 10 years. There’s a video so I suppose it must be true. What The article claims there are “dozens” of adults, this clearly should read “some” as it is surely impossible that so many animals could go undetected for so long.  And the journalist who wrote the thing clearly doesn’t have a clue or was asleep when he wrote it, starting that the “El lince vuelve en manada a Castilla-La Mancha” – Packs of lynx return to Castilla-La Mancha, something unthinkable for a territorial lynx. What does he think they are, lions? Great news that even a few have been discovered, though. MORE SOON

Imperial Eagle population up in Doñana

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

Good news for the Imperial Eagles in Doñana, which have raised all 10 of the chicks hatched this year. 70% of the chicks fledged since 2006 are female, thanks to a project of invention to revert the proportion of sexes.El Mundo. I’m a little confused as I had previously reported that only 9 had been hatched this year – more here Success for Imperial Eagle in Doñana

Loggerhead turtles hatch in Almeria

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

40 eggs of loggerhead turtles (tortuga boba – Caretta caretta) hatched last week on a beach in Cabo de Gata, Almeria. Another 40 are expected to hatch these days. The eggs came from Cabo Verde and form part of a reintroduction programme of the Junta de Andalucía and CSIC. The aim is for the same turtles to return to lay their eggs on the same beach, though the high mortality of the species means that very few if any of these young hatched in Almeria will reach adulthood.1000 eggs were taken from Cabo Verde, where a third of the world’s population lives. 800 were left in the Canary Islands and 200 were brought to Andalucia. 120 have been raised in incubators in Sevilla. Small populations of loggerhead turtle in the Mediterranean exist in the Turkey and Greece.

El Mundo

El Mundo

More protection demanded for rabbit

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

WWF/Adena have demanded more protection for that most Spanish of animals the rabbit, due to its key role as a prey species for more than 40 mammals and birds, some of them like the lynx and the imperial eagle, seriously endangered. Myxomatosis and VIH have decimated rabbit populations across much  of Spain and in some areas rabbits are a now a rare animal. It is estimated that rabbit numbers are barely 20% that of the pre-epidemic early 1950s, when the animal formed an essential part of the diet of many Spaniards, and when rabbit were alkmost certainly hunted far more. WWF/Adena are not asking for a ban on its hunting but rather for the hunting season to be moved as at present they are hunted in autumn and winter just before the start of their breeding season. They suggest that the hunting season be brought forward several months in line with the maximum yearly population level. It is beyond me why hunters would oppose such a measure, if indeed they do.

See also Origin of words Spain, rabbit and coney + Iberian lynx (with section on the rabbit)

Site news

Friday, October 19th, 2007

Very brief mention in yesterday’s El Pais for Iberianature. Here. This is the third time Iberianature has appeared in El Pais. The first two times were for Page of the Week in Cyberpais.

News roundup 1

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Here’s a new section with brief descriptions and feeds to news articles which because of time, interest and space I haven’t written about in more detail.

  • Latest lynx bulletin with details of all the breeding facilities under construction (Programa ex-situ pdf)
  • 500 animals killed in a year along a single road crossing Doñana, including two lynxes (Consumer)
  • Bunkering, the refueling of tankers in the Straits of Gibraltar, causing a “silent” oil slick. (Consumer)
  • Invasion of American plant Baccharis halimifolia,a serious threat to Urdaibai wetlands (El Pais)
  • Ski project in Sierra Nevada a threat to birdlife (El Pais)
  • Cold winter predicted this year (Alfred Picó)
  • Castilla y León approves three golf courses in Villanueva de Gómez, Ávila, despite huge environmental impact. 7000 homes planned for village of 143 inhabitants.  (SEO

Worst storms in Valencia’s history

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

With torrential rains and several deaths from storms in Valencia and Alicante in the last few weeks, it is worth remembering that the Mediterranean coast is characterised by extreme weather events in autumn and has always suffered from flooding, though year’s events have been grossly aggravated by building on flood plains and near dry river beds.

There have been 59 important floods in the last six centuries. This year is the 50 anniversary of 1957 flood (14/Oct), the worst in the 20th century, which caused 81 deaths, 52 of which were in the Valencian capital, as the River Turia burst its banks. 1,131,000 tonnes of mud had to be removed from the city. More from the great Alfred Picó.

But also seems that in recent years these extreme events have become more frequent because of climate change.

Carlos Sanz and wolves

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

A new TVE documentary on wolves in Spain and on the work of Carlos Sanz, one of principal experts and defenders of wolves in Spain. Click here (link corrected). Thanks to Lisa on the forum for finding this.