Archive for October, 2010

The last autochthonous Pyrenean bear dead?

Thursday, 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.

Picos de Europa butterflies

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Lovely post by Lisa on butterflies of the Picos de Europa.

An ancient dragon

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

One of the weirdest trees growing naturally in Spain is the Dracaena draco, the Canary Islands Dragon Tree (Drago in Spanish). Reports of one thousand-year old specimens are somewhat exagerrated. The tree, shown above at Icod de los Vino, is thought to be the oldest in the islands at a sprightly 650 years.

The tree ‘s name has mythical origins: for his 11th labour, Hercules had to bring back three golden apples from the garden of the Hespérides, which is guarded by Landon, the hundred-headed dragon. Hercules killed Landon and his blood flowed out over the land, which began to sprout ‘dragon’ trees. Arkive. The origin of this tale lies in the tree’s resin: When the bark or leaves are cut they secrete a reddish resin, one of the sources of the substance known as Dragon’s blood.

Vultures and climate change

Monday, October 18th, 2010

A new Spanish study has highlighted the role played by vultures in reducing energy consumption in Spain, saving the annual energy use of an estimated 9,000 homes and preventing 193,000 tons of CO2 from being released in the atmosphere. Spanish livestock farmers produces 380,000 tons of carrion, whose incineration involves a high energy cost. An adult vulture consumes some three kilos of meat a week, with all vultures in Spain consuming some 10,000 tonnes a year. Unfortunately the strict EU rules, as a result of mad cow’s disease, force many farmers to incinerate dead animals in official centres at a high cost to both them and in terms of CO2 production. I’d be interested in knowing how much CO2 the vultures would save if and when the EU rules are eventually relaxed.

More from 20 Minutos

Doñana pharmaceutical threat

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Researchers from the University of Seville have detected active pharmaceutical substances for the first time in the waters of the Doñana National Park. Read on Wildlife Extra