CONSERVATION NEWS

This page is updated with all the latest conservation efforts from the countries that we visit as well as future destinations. Please  check this page every now and again or send us an e-mail to keep up to date: e-mail

Bear-signBEARS IN ABRUZZO UPDATE
Our friends at Salviamo l’Orso have updated us on some recent good news from Italy. During previous years, a number of bears have sadly been killed on roads. However, thanks to the hard work of Salviamo l’Orso putting up warning signs to reduce speed in vulnerable bear areas, we are pleased to report that during the past 18 months the mortality rate has decreased, with just one death reported in this period and this was a natural death. Other good news relates to the successful prevention of the proposed construction of three huge wind farms that could have impacted on important bear habitat.

Finally, a female cub that was found abandoned last May (2015) has now been successfully rehabilitated and returned to the wild. Morena, the name given to the cub, has survived the winter and is now roaming the Abruzzo Park mountains. Given the perilously low numbers of Marsican Bears, the survival of any bear is great news, but it seems all the more important when it relates to a single reproductive female and gives hope for the conservation of the species.

Concerns and efforts are now focused on the proposed development of existing ski resorts in important bear country that could have significant negative impacts on the bear population – We will keep you updated.

PROGRAMA LINCE UPDATE: IBERIAN LYNX RE-INTRODUCTION IN PORTUGAL
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In February 2015, for the first time in Portugal’s history, two Iberian Lynx were reintroduced into the country, as part of an Iberian reintroduction programme. Between Feb and August, a total of 10 Iberian Lynx will be reintroduced. The programme, is taking place in the municipality of Mértola. The animals follow a soft release approach with two animals at a time being first held in an enclosure, where they remain for three weeks  to acclimbatise to their surroundings before their final release into the wild. At present, a total of six animals have already been released in the Mértolar region. Unfortunately, a female, was found dead and the causes are still under investigation.

Apart from the reintroduced animals, there is also “Hongo”, the male Iberian lynx that in 2013 was spotted in Vila Nova de Milfontes, and is thought to still remain in that area. This animal is currently the only confirmed Iberian Lynx known to have arrived in Portugal naturally, from the population in Spain.

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IBERIAN LYNX NUMBERS STILL A CONCERN
Our two recent Iberian Lynx and Eagles tours to the Sierra de Andujar in Spain allowed some wonderful encounters with this beautiful cat. Despite the recent increase in numbers, sadly the Iberian Lynx is currently facing problems again. The Iberian Lynx’s key prey item, the rabbit, has suffered from a haemorrhaging disease and as a result the rabbit population has crashed. This causes Lynx to wander into areas they wouldn’t ordinarily travel to in search of food making them less inclined to breed and more vulnerable to road traffic accidents. Therefore one of our recent donations has supported EU LIFE project work to boost the rabbit population in the Sierra de Andujar Region through creation of artificial rabbit warrens (above) and re-introduction of rabbits.

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DEVON CUCKOOS MAKE IT TO AFRICA!
Two of the Cuckoos that we are sponsoring for the BTO’s Tracking Cuckoos to Africa Project have made it to Africa! The birds were caught on Dartmoor in May 2014 and fitted with satellite tags and our Ghana tour donation has contributed towards their satellite tracking. The birds were named, Emsworthy and Meavy, by other sponsors who funded their tags. Their journeys can be followed online HERE

 

 

PROGRAMA LINCE UPDATE JUNE 2014 – CONCERNS FOR LYNX
Our friends at LPN are continuing their good work in Portugal through an Iberian Lynx education programme and further fieldwork andresearch in relation to the Iberian Lynx and Black Vulture.
We are pleased to be able to continue to support this good work through further donations made after our March and May 2014 private tours looking for Iberian Lynx in the Sierra de Andujar region of Spain.

The Lynx Programme Team have been updating us on their recent news:LPN

Since the beginning of the year we’ve reached to nearly 500 students in southeastern Portugal, from elementary to high school, bringing to more than three thousand the number of children and youngsters aware to the Iberian lynx conservation needs. We participated in several fairs, promoted environmental awareness campaigns and drawing contests for children all over the country. At our headquarters, in Lisbon, we also received 150 students from the suburbs who, for the first time, heard about the endangered Iberian lynx…

 

FIELD WORK NEWS:
Researchers and conservationists who work on behalf of the Iberian lynx are now extremely worried about the impact of the new strain of hemorrhagic fever that recently reached the Iberian Peninsula, causing a severe decline of wild rabbit populations (the Iberian lynx’s main prey). Although still under study, the intervention area of the Lynx Programme has also been affected by this deadly disease, resulting in the decline of wild rabbit local densities. Though, we are to believe that the number of measures implemented by the Lynx Programme throughout the last years to increase wild rabbit’s survival rate to environmental and ecological variables such as food and water scarcity and predatory pressure significantly contributed to the species survival and maintenance in some of the affected areas. We now hope that, with the help of these same measures and structures (e.g. artificial shelters, protection enclosures and pastures), the small populations that survived this new threat can quickly recover.

Furthermore, at the Moura/Barrancos Site, a region of Iberian lynx historical occurrence, 55 hectares of corridors of adequate habitat for this species were created within olive yards in an area where, throughout the last decades, the intensive olive groves have expanded causing habitat loss and fragmentation.

BLACK VULTURES ON THE UP:
I also leave you with an update on the Lynx Programme activities aiming the Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus) conservation (another critically endangered species in Portugal that shares many threats and its natural habitat with the Iberian lynx and for which we started working in 2010). To ensure the future of Black Vulture in southeastern Portugal, we successfully implemented a network of ten feeding stations and built 26 artificial nests targeted at this scavenger bird. Since then, a maximum of 18 Black Vultures have been sighted at the same time at one of these feeding stations, being the total population of the region, estimated in around 20-25 individuals!!

 

WISE BIRDING HOLIDAYS SUPPORTING DEVON’S CUCKOOS!BTO-Logo-300
We are pleased to announce our suport for the BTO’s Tracking Cuckoos to Africa Project A £240 donation from our recent tour to Ghana in November/December 2013 will go towards this fantastic project. This donation will soon help to sponsor a Cuckoo from Dartmoor which will be fitted with a satellite tag in Spring 2014. You can follow the cuckoo’s journey later this year on the BTO’s website HERE and more information can be found on our Conservation Projects webpage and the video below.

GOOD NEWS FROM PORTUGAL: Iberian Lynx from the Coto Donana makes it into Western Portugal, thus giving further hope for the species to become established once again. See more on this story  HERE All our tours to look for Iberian Lynx support the good habitat restoration work being carried out in Portugal for Iberian Lynx.

SEO / BIRDLIFE Northern Bald Ibis Conservation ProgramBald-Ibis-Flight-400-wide
Our recent trip to Morocco in March 2013 was not only a success in that we succeeded with finding all the specialities, but also that we were able to donate £250 to further the research into NBI. This money will be spent on  radio tracking birds movements within the Moroccan coast highlighting the most important feeding, roosting and nesting areas. As the Syrian population seems to sadly be doomed, the Moroccan population becomes even more important. You can find out more about this project and the Northern Bald Ibis HERE


PROGRAMA LINCE UPDATE
Following our last trip to see Iberian Lynx in February 2013, we donated another £150 to this great project and therefore adding to the £125 donated from our tour in Nov 2012 . Edurado Santos (Project Co-ordinator) has kindly updated us on how the   project is going – See summary below:  More info HERE “The Lynx Programme Lynx 400 wideis already getting prepared for summer… To enhance wild rabbit local populations, the Iberian lynx’s main prey, it recently created further 14 hectares of pastures, which will increase food availability during the dry and hot months of summer, and therefore raise the survival rate of this important Mediterranean prey. Awareness raising among local populations has also been a priority in the latest months. Currently, students all over the Caldeirão Hills (Algarve, South of Portugal) are participating in a school challenge about the Iberian lynx conservation. Soon their school projects will be presented to local communities, thus disclosing this critically endangered feline. Also, in the next months several environmental awareness campaigns about the Iberian lynx will be held at historical areas of occurrence of this species, in Southeast Portugal. Targeted at local populations and stakeholders, these campaigns are crucial to increase knowledge about the Iberian lynx and its local acceptance.”

Programa LinceINTRODUCING PROGRAMMA LINCE Following our recent tour to Spain and a successful trip to see Iberian Lynx as well as many other birds and mammals, we are pleased to confirm our support for a LIFE NATURE Project that supports both the Iberian Lynx and the Black Vulture in Portugal. The Iberian Lynx is all but extinct in Portugal, but this project works hard to try and enhance the habitat for these two species which is the first crucial step in getting the Iberian Lynx back to this area. Although both species have very distinct appearances and habits, the Iberian Lynx and the Black Vulture have a lot in common – they share the habitat where they live, the prey they feed (wild rabbit), and the many threats that, over time, led them to share the conservation status of Critically Endangered in Portugal. Our recent donation from our November tour will go towards this valuable work.

 

GOOD NEWS FROM ABRUZZO!
We are pleased to announce our support for the newly formed group Salviamo l’Orso. This year, the group was  involved in the annual Females with Cubs Survey  and the results bring good news! Sites are monitored throughout August & September and  this Autumn’s results show there to be 5 Females with a total of 11 Cubs! Although it is still early days ahead of the challenging winter months, these numbers are encouraging for the population, especially when compared to just the three  bear cubs that were recorded in 2011. Our tours to Abruzzo NP in May 2013 shall be donating to this group’s good work to help ensure the future survival of the Marsican Brown Bear.