Archive for the ‘Wolves’ Category

Wolf hunting methods in Spanish history

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Interesting interview here by Natur films with naturalist and biologist Alberto Hernando on the different methods used to kill wolves over the centuries in Spain. An example is this remarkable structure in Lubián, Zamora.

These methods were justified by the needs of the times, but unfortunately wolves, today without justification, are still being illegally killed in their hundreds in Spain. This week for instance La Crónica Verde reports here on two wolves found snared in Anta de Rioconejos, Zamora. Their yelping alerted local people to their rescue.

Wolves worth more alive than dead

Tuesday, 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

Saturday, 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.

Spanish wolves prefer wild roe deer to domestic animals

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

A Spanish researcher has shown that wolves in the Macizo Central Orensano, Galicia prefer roe deer, deer and wild boar, rather than sheep, goats, cows and horses. The researcher, who identified the food type of wolves through their faeces, found “in 87.1% of cases the carcasses of wild hoofed animals appeared, while domestic animals were only found in 11.3%. Lower amounts of remains of carnivorous animals, such as badgers, dogs, cats and rabbits were also found”.

The study, recently published in Wildlife Biology, shows that roe deer are the main prey, and were eaten all seasons of the year though particularly during the summer (52%) and spring (26.2%). 62.8% of prey were roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), 12.6% deer (Cervus elaphus) and 10% wild boar (Sus scrofa). The consumption of domestic sheep and goats only represented 7.7% and 2.9%, respectively.

The fact that livestock remains are present in excrement samples of wolves is explained by their scavenging habits in the area. No attacks on livestock were reported during the study. One of the most important points in the study that the consumption of wild and domestic animals does not depend on their availability. Wolves preferred roe deer, deer and wild boar ahead of livestock, “in spite of the fact that both food types can be found in large quantities”, Barja adds.

“In areas with a low density and diversity of wild hoofed animals where wolves feed on domestic animals, an increase in the number of wild prey, livestock vigilance and limited access to carcasses could force wolves to specialise in the consumption of wild prey and transmit this behaviour to their offspring. Without doubt, this would help to minimise conflict between humans and wolves, and would support the conservation of canidae”, the researcher concludes.

Wildife Biology from Eureka Alert

Photo by Wil Luiif who organises trips to watch wolves in Spain. More here at Aragonnatuur

Spanish wolf photo wins top award

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Spanish photographer Jose Luis Rodriguez has won the prestigious 2009 Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year award for his picture of an Iberian wolf leaping a fence as it pursues its prey. Rodriguez says that he had planned for years, and even sketched out on a piece of paper. He used a custom-built infrared trap to snap the wolf as it leapt into the air. He told the BBC, “I wanted to capture a photo in which you would see a wolf in an act of hunting – or predation – but without blood,” He went onto say that he hoped his picture, “showing the wolf’s great agility and strength”, will become an image that can be used to show just how beautiful the Iberian wolf is and how the Spanish can be proud to have such an emblematic animal. More from the BBC

New wolf documentary

Saturday, 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

Wednesday, 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.

British isles nature

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

Totally unrelated to Spain, but yes with nature and geography, I’ve been busy working on the new britainnature section, a guide to the geography and wildlife of the British Isles.

Visit britainnnature

Shark fishing in Spain

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

The Shark Alliance has denounced the overfishing of sharks for their fins by Spanish ships. 60,000 tons were docked in Spanish ports last year.
“A new TNS Demoscopia poll, commissioned by the Shark Alliance, has revealed that people in Spain are unwittingly eating shark meat. Although 96% of those polled said that they did not eat shark, 76.4% were not aware that “cazón” and “marrajo” are sharks and nearly 33% said that they consumed these products.  The results were released in conjunction with a new report from SUBMON, titled Spain: A driving force in shark fishing around the world, that documents serious fishery problems including mislabelling sharks at market.”

Read Spanish unwittingly eat shark (Shark Alliance)

For more than a decade, Spain has been one of the top five world powers with respect to the fishing and marketing of sharks.  Spain’s fishing fleets, employing various gears,  span the globe, taking sharks as targeted and incidental catch.  Approximately 50% of the EU catch of “sharks” (all cartilaginous fishes: sharks, rays and chimaeras) is taken by Spain.

A Spanish nursery rhyme

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Cinco Lobitos
Cinco lobitos tiene la loba
blancos y negros detrás de una escoba.
Cinco tenía y cinco criaba
y a todos los cinco tetita les daba

Five wolf cubs
The mother wolf has five cubs
black and white behind a brush
She had five and she raised five
and she gave all five her breast to feed

To be sung to babies to distract them. Swivel your five fingers, the five wolf cubs, in front of the baby.