Articles in ‘Andalucia’

March news

March 29th, 2011

I’ve been woefully neglecting this section of iberianature recently. Here are a couple of recent wildlife stories in the English press.

The Missing Lynx (The Guardian) Good article. “Ten years ago, there were barely 100 Iberian lynx left. But an innovative Spanish conservation programme is rescuing them from the edge of extinction”

And this story about ancient giant bunnies from Menorca reported in The Scientist

The skeletal remains of a 26-pound rabbit was found on an island off the coast of Spain. Dubbed the Minorcan King of the Rabbits, this ancient rabbit lived approximately three to five million years ago and now adds evidence to a curious rule concerning the evolution of animals in islands. The so-called “island rule” states that big animals will get smaller and small animals (such as rabbits) will get bigger when the population is isolated on an island, perhaps due to the lack of mainland predators. In this case, the King is a whopping six-times larger than living European rabbits, but due to a rigid spine and short legs, it was also unable to hop.

Doñana threats

January 27th, 2011 Good short summary of the threats facing Doñana by Wildlife Extra here: dredging of the river Guadalquivir, thousands of acres of illegal strawberry farms and paddy fields guzzling up the water and a proposed oil platform. And this is called the jewel of Spain’s national parks.

Ecoducts for Doñana’s lynxes

December 31st, 2010 Paso elevado, conocido como ecoducto, en la A-94. | Efe The road deaths amomg Doñana’s lynxes will hopefully be reduced with the building of four of these ecoducts across the infamous A-494 road, responsible for a unacceptable number of deaths (three just in 2010). The ecoducts are to covered in earth and vegetation. El Mundo

Iberian lynx trip report

December 13th, 2010 Lovely trip report from the Sierra Morena in search of lynxes by my favourite Spanish nature blogger, Zona Osera.

Satellite image of the Strait of Gibraltar

September 18th, 2010

File:Strait of gibraltar.jpg

Satellite image of the Strait of Gibraltar from NASA found on Wikipedia.

Algeciras Harbor is the prominent notch cut out of the eastern end of the north shore of the Strait; the Rock of Gibraltar is the tiny arrowhead that separates the notch from the Alboran Sea. The Sierra Nevada, farther away down the Spanish coast, lives up to its name in this April scene. The difference in elevation between the Sierra Morena and the Guadalquivir River valley is highlighted nicely by cumulus clouds. Tangier, Morocco can be seen as a light-toned spot on the southern shore of the Strait, near the entrance to the Atlantic Ocean.

Osprey recolonising Andalucia

September 7th, 2010

Two pairs of ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) have reproduced in Andalucía (Cádiz and Huelva) for the second year running, thus confirming the recolonization of the species, some fifty years after disappearing from the Peninsula as a nesting bird (and eighty from Spain). It is claimed that the osprey is the first vertebrate top achieve this in centuries but it should be said that they have been helped by a reintroduction scheme involving the release of more than 100 chicks in the last seven years, until finally a released bird joined up with wild bird. The second pair is formed by two wild ospreys of unknown origin. Between the two pairs, four chicks have been raised this year (five were fledged last year) so a round of applause to them and the people involved in the project. Crónica Verde

Cockling in Doñana

July 31st, 2010

Cockling is one of the few traditional activities permitted in Doñana National Park. 

Coquineros en las playas de Doñana

Released lynxes have cubs

June 14th, 2010
Uno de los linces liberados en 2009 en Córdoba. | El Mundo

The seven Iberian lynxes (four females and three males) released in December 2009 in Guadalmellato, Cordoba are breeding successfully. Three cubs have been born to one mother, and two other females are believed to be pregnant.

The seven animals were the first to be released from the lynx captive breeding programme with the aim of establishing new territories across Spain. In this first case, an area close to the main lynx  stronghold of Andújar was chosen. To make their adaptation easier, supplementary food in the form of penned rabbits has been provided – the lynxes can get in, but the rabbit can’t get out. The animals have also been fitted with radio-trackers.

The biologists in charge of the project are delighted not only with the news of the cubs, but also because no lynxes have so far died – three to four were expected to do so as they succumbed to the ordeal of adapting to their new territory. One animal has also come into contact with lynxes from Andújar which bodes well that this small population can expand.

Photo of one of the Guadalmellato lynxes on its release: El Mundo

Iberian lynx reintroduction continues

June 13th, 2010
The plan to reintroduce Iberian lynx in the wild is to continue, despite the serious setback posed by the outbreak of a renal disease amongst the captive animals, in a year when only nine cubs were born. The fact that the wild populations in Andalucia are increasingly strong (65 and 165 animals in Doñana and Sierra Morena in, respectively) and the overall success of the captive breeding programme (80 cubs born so far) bodes well for the future, as does the  increasing Iberian nature of the programme with the involvement of Castilla-La Mancha, Extredura and Portugal. EFE
The breeding project was dealt a serious blow with the expected death in the next year of twelve lynxes from renal disease. More here Serious blow to lynx breeding project

Bald ibis reintroduction

June 12th, 2010

Bizarre photo of the month goes to the people involved in the bald ibis reintroduction programme, who released six birds this week in the Sierra de Retín (Cádiz), making a total of 24 so far this year, and 215 since the proyecto Eremita began. El País. Note: the hats, in addition to an essential fashion item this summer in Cadiz, are part of the plot to confuse the birds that they have been raised by ibises not humans.

The aim is to reintroduce the bird to areas where it has become extinct and to strengthen existing wild populations in North Africa. The last definite reference to the bald ibis breeding in Spain is from a 15th century falcony book.

See also Bald Ibis breed in Spain for first time in 500 years