Tag Archives: Reintroduction projects in Spain

Black Vultures in Spain. Rewilding Spain, Terra Naturalis and GREFA’s Conservation Odyssey

In the heart of the Iberian Highlands, the resurgence of black vultures in Spain unfolds through dedicated conservation efforts. In Alto Tajo Nature Park and the Sierra de la Demanda, new nests signify a strategic push to reintroduce these majestic raptors. With support from the Regional Government of Castilla-La Mancha, Rewilding Spain, Terra Naturalis, and GREFA, the black vulture’s return becomes a compelling narrative of successful collaboration.

Continue reading Black Vultures in Spain. Rewilding Spain, Terra Naturalis and GREFA’s Conservation Odyssey

Controversy Surrounding the Release of white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) in Asturias

Controversy has ignited (yet again) over the reintroduction of white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) in the Asturias region, with conflicting views on their impact. Concerns have been raised by ecologists about the potential threat these “superpredator” eagles pose to local wildlife.

A recent incident involving an encounter between a bearded vulture and a released “pigargo”, shared by the Coordinadora Ecoloxista d’Asturies (who are in total opposition to this project) has now sparked further debate with some demanding the prompt capture of the released eagles to prevent any further detrimental interactions. While some viewed it as evidence of potential issues, GREFA (the project coordinators) has maintained that such encounters were a natural part of the ecosystem.

Photo by Orlando Miranda of the interaction between white tailed eagle and bearded vulture in Spain
Photo by Orlando Miranda of the interaction between white tailed eagle and a bearded vulture in Spain (August 2023)

The “Pigargo Project”, initiated with the goal of reintroducing the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) into Spain using individuals from Norway, faced immediate controversy when it was first announced. Biologists and ecologists from the region warned of potential dangers to native species, especially those already threatened.

Environmental associations have argued that these “superpredators”, known for their diet of fish, birds, and mammals, could significantly disrupt the conservation efforts for threatened species in the Asturian fauna. In response, the GREFA association, the driving force behind the Pigargo Project, have contested these claims.

After more than two years of intensive monitoring, GREFA reported that there had been no documented negative interactions between the released pigargos and protected species. They argued that portraying these eagles as catastrophic for local wildlife or livestock was based on incomplete information.

GREFA has also highlighted the positive side of their project, citing the benefits of introducing the eagle (known as a pigargo in Spanish) to the region. Notably, their presence has led to improved safety measures for birds, such as anti-electrocution measures on power line supports in Asturias and Cantabria.

In this video from 2017 it is really easy to see that the interaction between the white tailed eagle and other birds of prey are quite normal. In this case its a visiting white tailed eagle with both Bonelli’s and Imperial eagles. (This video was taken before GREFA started its introduction project in Asturias.)

The controversy raises essential questions about the balance between conservation efforts and the potential risks associated with species reintroduction. As discussions continue, it is crucial to consider the comprehensive data gathered through extensive monitoring and avoid demonizing these eagles without a clear understanding of their impact.

In the absence of conclusive evidence, the fate of the Pigargos in Asturias remains uncertain, leaving stakeholders to navigate the complexities of wildlife conservation and coexistence.

Further reading

The original article in Spanish “Los pigargos liberados en Ribadedeva son un peligro para la fauna salvaje” here: https://coordinadoraecoloxista.org/los-pigargos-liberados-en-ribadedeva-son-un-peligro-para-la-fauna-salvaje/

Read the article arguing that the eagles should be removed from the wild and the project halted here: (in Spanish) at https://revistajaraysedal.es/fotografian-aguila-superdepredadora-liberada-ecologistas-enfrentandose-fauna-autoctona/

Read the press release from GREFA (in Spanish) arguing that the interactions with other wildlife is quite normal here: https://www.grefa.org/noticias/94-notas-de-prensa/4338-nota-de-prensa-los-pigargos-europeos-liberados-en-asturias-no-perjudican-al-quebrantahuesos-ni-a-otras-especies-amenazadas.html

The article here at Wildside Holidays about the pigargo reintroduction project: https://wildsideholidays.co.uk/reintroduction-of-the-extinct-in-spain-white-tailed-eagle-haliaeetus-albicilla/

Wikipedia has an extensive article about the white tailed eagle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-tailed_eagle

Ronda Today

Everything you need to know before you visit Ronda “The city of dreams” in Andalucia. https://www.rondatoday.com/

Visit Cádiz

Planning on visiting Cádiz? Tourist information. Monuments. Hotels. Activities. City guides: https://visitingcadiz.com/

The Caminito del Rey

Find tickets for the Caminito del Rey: https://www.caminodelrey.es/

Wildside Holidays – Spain

Take a trip on the Wildside! Discover the wildlife and nature of Spain, its Natural and National Parks and find the top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies.

Iberia Nature Forum

Struggling with identifying those bugs and beasties? Why not check out the Iberia nature Forum! https://iberianatureforum.com/