Archive for November, 2008

Environmental volunteer work in Spain

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

A friend of mine, Anna Gallés, is helping out with the Spanish version of iberianature – naturaiberica. At the moment she’s compiling this very useful directory of opportunities for environmental volunteer work in Spain. A wide range of activities is available from with working black vultures in the Balearics to helping amphibians in Catalonia. I won’t translate these activities into English as some limited knowledge of Spanish is always going to be necessary to join up to these programmes, but if anyone has any specific questions, please don’t hesitate to email me.

Anna Gallés is a natural history painter with a lovely eye for detail Visit Anna’s blog and see more of her work

Solar towers in Andalucia

Monday, November 24th, 2008

The world’s biggest solar tower plant is being built in 30km outside Sevilla. The technology known as concentrated solar power (CSP) reflects sunlight to superheat water at a central tower. Once the plant is opened in January, it will generate 20MW of electricity, enough to power 11,000 homes.

“Spanish firms are charging ahead with CSP: more than 50 solar projects around Spain have been approved for construction by the government and, by 2015, the country will generate more than 2GW of power from CSP, comfortably exceeding current national targets. The companies are also exporting their technology to Morocco, Algeria and the US. “CSP is at the very beginning of a big boom,” said José Luis García, at Greenpeace in Spain. “Spain is in a good position to develop and implement the technology. We have the sun so we are in the best position to lead in this field.”
Read in the Guardian

Red squirrels in the park

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Another lovely post from Lucy on the squirrels in her local Barcelona park.

Bear cub returned to wild

Friday, November 14th, 2008

The bear cub found injured in June was released back into the wild on Tuesday in Somiedo.

Lisa notes: “The movements of her family (mother and two sisters) have been monitored closely and the release was made in the same vicinity. As nothing like this has ever happened before in the Cantabrian mountains, the outcome is far from certain although Fapas are hopeful that she’ll be accepted back into the family group. They recount the story of bear cubs orphaned in the Pyrenees and later adopted by another female bear. She’s been tagged and is carrying two radio-transmitters which they say will be lost when she moults next spring.” Read more on this by Lisa on the forum

61 lynx cubs born in Sierra Morena

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Good news for the Iberian lynx. According to the Andalusian government, 61 lynx cubs were born this year in Sierra Morena, beating the record in recent years of 2006. This is more evidence that the Life Project is working. The population of lynx in the Sierra Morena could now be as high as 180 including cubs, doubling the figure for 2002. This will allow more lynx to be transferred to Doñana to avoid endogamy in the population there (though other problems will have to be solved). The news was announced during the opening of the second Iberian lynx captive breeding centre La Olivilla in Jaén. The centre has a number of large breeding cages and bigger pens for hunting. Junta de Andalucia

The official figures for cubs born in the Sierra Morena on the last seven years are:

2002 24
2003 17
2004 31
2005 29
2006 57
2007 22
2008 61

It is estimated that around 40% of these will have died in their first year. Others may have dispersed to new areas such Castilla-La Mancha.

Turtles hatch in Fuerteventura

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

The first loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) from eggs brought from Cabo Verde have hatched in Fuerteventura, in the Playa de Cofete in the Parque Natural de Jandía. More are expected to hatch from a total of 781 eggs. The project is planned to last ten years as it will take at least a decade to be able to begin to measure its success when hopefully some of those turtles hatched will return to the same beach as adults.

Plan to protect 2,900km of rivers

Friday, November 7th, 2008

The Spanish government is planning to give protection to some 2,900km of 357 still-unspoilt stretches of rivers, involving initially the creation of a Catálogo Nacional de Reservas Fluviales, which put a stop to any dam construction, waste disposal or extraction in these areas. The idea comes from a proposal by Ecologistas en Acción who note “It would have a huge importance because it would create biological corridors in almost all mountain ranges and would save what is left of rivers, which are probably the most altered ecosystems by humans.”

New book on Spain’s bears

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

While we cross our fingers and hope that Hvala settles into hibernation mode before the Aranese authorities can get their hands on her, a new book has been officially launched. Titled “Osas. El comportamiento de las osas y sus crias en la Cordillera Cantábrica” (Bears. The behaviour of female brown bears and their cubs in the Cantabrian mountain chain), the book is a compilation of information garnered over ten years of study by the Fundación Oso Pardo and is accompanied by an extraordinary dvd with footage of cubs playing and the darker, natural side of bear behaviour, infanticide. Contact Fop or the Fundación Biodiversidad, who financed the project, for your free copy.


 The new book, Osas.

Success for Imperial Eagle in Doñana

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Doñana has managed to halt the mortality of the Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberto). The annual number of chicks has tripled in the last three years from 3.5 to 10.5 chicks a year according to an article by scientists from CSIC in the ‘Journal of Applied Ecology’, thanks to a reduction in the use of poison in the areas surrounding Doñana. Between 1992 and 2004 there was a dramatic increase in annual adult mortality due to an increase in poisoning in hunting areas surrounding the park. “The use of poison against generalist predators accounted for more than 54% of the total number of breeding eagles found dead since 1990, increasing annual adult mortality from 6·07 to 12·01%.”

Freedom for Hvala!

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

If you’d like to show your support for the bear, Hvala, currently being persecuted in the Pyrenees (see previous post), there is now a petition in Catalan that can be signed. Click on “Signas per l’ossa” (nom = first name, cognom = surname).

Petition against the capture of Hvala