Castilla y León

Articles in ‘Castilla y León’

Traditional agriculture in León

February 1st, 2010

http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=2864.0;attach=5785;image

Dave spotted this remarkable scene of “a working pair of Oxen  with a cart full of manure, which the driver was distributing over a small rectangle of newly ploughed land. Location: some 40km from León capital. More here on the forum.

Wolves worth more alive than dead

January 5th, 2010

A new study by Sergi Garcia (who I do wildlife trips with) and Antonio Navarro has found that wolf tourism has become far more economic than wolf hunting in the Sierra de la Culebra. The study, presented at the Sociedad Española para la Conservación y el Estudio de los Mamíferos, simply adds up the earnings from both sectors . Earnings from wolf tourism (hotels, restaurants, varous purchases), brings in a remarkable 500,000 euros a year compared to 150.000 euros for all forms of hunting (including deer). ” Rural lodgings have increased from just 2 in 2002 to 15 in 2009. However, the study warns against the massification of tourism in the area and criticises the new wolf visitor’s centre to be opened this year in Sanabria.

More here (Estimación del impacto económico del turismo lobero en la Sierra de la Culebra).

News and photo from La Crónica Verde

Good news from Palencia

December 5th, 2009 Localizada otra osa con crías en la Montaña Palentina A “new” reproductive female bear with two cubs has been found in Palencia, part of the beleaguered Eastern Cantabrian bear population. With only 30 odd individuals, this population is in a critical state, with at the last count, only two breeding females. In 2008 three cubs were born to the two females only one of which survived, one having been lost to infanticide and the other dying from unknown causes. This discovery of a third female and her two cubs of this year is raises hope for the bears’ future in this region. From Lisa on PicosdeEuropa and originally from nortecastilla.es. (above photo with bear and cubs). This autumn have may been a good one for Cantabrian bears thanks to the mild conditions and plentiful fruit.

European mink recovering

November 19th, 2009

The European mink, the most endangered mammal in Europe after the Iberian lynx, appears to be recovering. There are now some 500 European mink in Spain divided between La Rioja, Castilla y Leon, Aragón, the Basque Country and Navarra. The animal was once common across Europe but was brought to the edge of extinction in the 1990s by the release of American mink which outcompetes it. A national strategy is aimed at eradicating the American mink in Northern Spain where the European mink should be present. Elimination of American mink from some rivers in Burgos and Álava is allowing the European mink to recover. El Mundo

More on mink on Iberianature

European mink photo: source Gobierno Vasco

New wolf documentary

September 19th, 2009 Very interesting 24-minute documentary about wolves in Spain here.  La huella del lobo looks at the conflicts around wolves in Castilla y León where wolves are being increasingly hunted legally (113 this year will be shot at up to 9,000 euros each). The film does not take sides and gives a voice to hunters, conservationists and politicians. See also the iberianatureforum’s discusssion on this.

A good year to kill wolves in Castilla y León

September 9th, 2009

La Crónica Verde has this depressing summary (Buen año para matar lobos en Castilla y León) of the  quota of wolves which can be hunted this year in Castilla y León. 142 wolves can be hunted this year, 29 more than last year. These are only the wolves killed legally. Many more will be shot illegally.

Cantabrian bear groups rejoined

August 18th, 2009

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Great news from biologists at Oviedo University; they now have positive DNA tested proof that two young bears are the progeny of a female bear from the east and a male from the west. Two hair/faeces samples taken in Redes Natural Park (Asturias) in November last year found two siblings, one male and of one unidentified sex. Another sample taken this spring in the Picos de Europa National Park has confirmed the analysis. More on this soon. Europa Press

Many thanks to Lisa on the forum for letting me know about this news, which is key to guaranteeing genetic diversity for Cantabrian bears, whose twin populations were separated more than 60 years ago.

Increase in brown bear population

July 27th, 2009

Good news – in part. The population of brown bears in the Cantabrian Mountains continues to grow. According to the latest bear census, a total of 19 female bears raised 37 cubs last year. The census was carried out in Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla y León by the Fundación Oso Pardo. However, the situation in the eastern populations of bears straddling Cantabria and Castilla y León continues to be “worrying”. Of the 37 cubs raised, just three cubs were raised in this area. The rest were raised by bears in the far healthier western population. El Mundo

In demonstration of the improved situation of bears in the western area, the World Conservation Union has just reduced the classification of the bears in this area from “Critically endangered” to “Endangered”. La Nueva España

Cantabrian nature blog

July 15th, 2009 One of my favourite Spanish nature blogs is Zona Osera (Bear Zone) written by Hector Ruiz from the Valle de Laciana, León. Superb photography and great natural history writing.

Save the Tajo

June 15th, 2009

Environmental groups are planning a large demonstration in Talavera de la Reina on 20th June to campaign for the recovery of the longest river in Iberia, the Tajo (Tagus).

Thanks to Damien Martin of the excellent Wild Spain for bringing this to my attention. He notes here:

The rally…seeks to bring attention to the fact that 80% of the Tagus is siphoned off to fuel industrial agriculture and urban development in the Spanish Mediterranean regions of Murcia, Alicante and Almería (fruit and veg for export, golf courses for ex-pats and tourists) and that the small portion which finally flows into Portugal is heavily polluted with effluent from Madrid.

The Tagus Network (Red del Tajo) have produced this PDF in English:

All Spanish and Portuguese children are taught that the Tagus, the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula, has its source in the Albarracín Mountains of Spain and runs westwards for over 1000 km, before flowing into the Atlantic next to the Portuguese capital, Lisbon. Sadly this schoolbook statement is currently fiction or, to be exact, only 20% true. The fact is 80% of the Tagus is siphoned off to fuel industrial agriculture and urban development in the Spanish Mediterranean. What remains of the natural mid and lower reaches of the Tagus are a shadow of their former selves, heavily polluted, and, in places, little more than open sewers. Read full text in English: Battle of the Tagus: Citizens of Spain and Portugal unite to save their greatest river