Archive for February, 2008

Jellyfish plague warning

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Scientists have warned of a new plague of jellyfish to hit Spain this summer. The Guardian here reports that scientists were “alarmed to detect large numbers of the Pelagia noctiluca, commonly known as the “mauve stinger”, growing in the winter”.

..A study has revealed that jellyfish proliferate throughout the year, not just in the summer. Between November and January, scientists discovered 30 colonies, or blooms, ranging in size from four to 10 jellyfish per cubic metre of water, all along the Catalan coast. “The problem seen on the beaches is not the main concern for scientists….Jelly expert Professor Gili, noted “For us the major worry is the global disequilibrium in the sea caused by over-fishing.” In 2006, the Red Cross treated 21,000 people who had been stung on the beaches of Catalonia, while on a single day in August, 400 bathers were treated at a beach in Málaga. One cause of the problem is the decrease in leatherback turtles, a principal predator, which have been driven to the point of extinction because the beaches where they lay eggs have been used for tourism.

Bear death case re-opened

Friday, February 29th, 2008


The case of the Cantabrian brown bear found dead in the Polentinos region of the Cantabrian mountains on the 11th of August, 2007 has been re-opened to finally establish the cause of death.

Electric fences against wolf attacks

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Electric fences stop 97% of attacks by wolves on livestock according to this article from EFE. In an experiment in 30 sheep farms in Spain, only three attacks occurred with the death of just one sheep during a year. Mastiffs are effective, though less so, with a 69% reduction in livestock injuries and deaths. The results were presented at the meeting Conviviendo con el lobo: Prevención de daños en Europa Meridional held in Segovia this February.

Traditional huts in Spain

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

The iberianatureforum image gallery just gets better and better. Check out here the array of huts everybody has collected from around Spain. And it’s only been going three weeks. Here below a corrala from the Sierra de la Culebra.


A corrala (not corral!) is a traditional construction unique to the the Sierra de la Culebra. The heather thatch edging with an open centre protected sheep against both the rain and the wolf, and should the latter have managed to jump in, it would never have got out.

Most corralas are falling into disuse. A few have been restored as folk monuments. These days, shepherds lock up their flocks in warehouses.

Renewable energy in Portugal

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Article here from the BBC on the plans in Portugal for renewable energy. The government wants 45% of the country’s electricity to come from renewables such as wind, hydro, and solar by 2010. “This challenge will create a new industrial revolution,” said Portugal’s economy minister. Amongst the projects under way in Portugal is building of the the world’s biggest solar power farm here below in Moura.

The Cantabrian brown bear on Wikipedia

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

The Cantabrian brown bear (Ursus arctos) now has its own page on Wikipedia which will, hopefully, be of interest to a worldwide readership and bring it more attention internationally. There’s information on the tricky subject of the scientific classification of Ursidae species as well as threats that are currently confronting the bears’ survival and the conservation measures being undertaken to combat them to ensure their continued presence in Spain.

Cantabrian brown bears, Fapas

Posted by Lisa

Iberian image gallery

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Forum partner Clive has been hard at work secretly setting up the new iberianatureforum image gallery. Full marks to him, and to all the people who have begun to post their images and descriptions. The quality and range of the photos and texts make me believe this is soon going to be the best gallery on Spain on the Net. When Clive is not slaving away on the forum he also runs Wildside Holidays.

Below an image from the gallery: the Hayados de Tejera Negra by Dave who writes:

“The beech trees of Tejera Negra were planted in remote times, when the climate was colder and more humid than it is now.” Read

Spanish drought worsens

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Spain is suffering its worst drought in the October-March semester for 60 years, with a national average of just 177 mm compared to the normal value of 316 mm. Only the unlikely event of very heavy rains over the next two weeks would save the period from beating the record. The prolonged drought over the last three years is the worst since reliable records began.
El Mundo

Lynx found dead on Andujar road

Monday, February 11th, 2008

A young male lynx has been found dead on a road in the Sierra de Andujar. (El Mundo) If, as it seems likely, it was killed by a car, it would be the first I think for more than a year. See also No lynx killed this year on Doñana’s roads

Lammergeyer in Cazorla

Monday, February 11th, 2008

Good news for the Lammergeyer (quebrantahuesos. Less than two years after the release of the first individuals from the captive breeding programme of Cazorla y Segura where the bird became extinct in 1980s, the young birds have begun to disperse as far as the French Pyrenees and to areas such as Montes de Toledo, La Rioja, and Castilla y León.The first three individuals, released in May 2006, have flown 25,000 kilometres according to GPS system which is tacking them. However, all of the birds have returned home to Cazorla to breed. There are now 18 lammergeyers flying free in the Sierras de Cazorla y Segura, 12 of which were born in the breeding centre and the rest brought from Austria and the Czech Republic. More releases are planned to boost the population.

Los 25.000 kilómetros del quebrantahuesos (El Pais)

More on the bearded vulture on Iberianature