This Sunday, 4 June, from 10 am to 2 pm, the day of “Open Doors” is an opportunity to visit the Centre for the Recuperation of Wild Animals in Menorca. You will see the animals living there and learn about the work done to care for wild animals of Menorca. This day is made possible with the collaboration of Lithica and the Town Hall of Ciutadella, to celebrate World Environment Day as well as the Land Stewardship Week. Continue reading This Sunday, Open Doors at the Centre for Recuperation of Wild Animals
Tag Archives: Fauna
1388 animals were attended at the Centre for Recuperation of Wild Animals during 2022
GOB presented the annual report for 2022 for the Centre for Recuperation of Wild Animals in Menorca. During the year, they cared for 1388 of 81 different species. There were 1800 visitors, including schoolchildren from 13 different educational centres, people attending family workshops, and other visits in general.
The majority of animals that enter the animal recuperation centre have suffered from some form of human activity: on roads, power lines, collisions with large windows, dangers from urban environments, the introduction of invasive species… Our purpose is to try to diminish the negative consequences of human activity, by collecting and trying to make as many animals as possible better, learning from them and giving essential environmental education. Disseminating the impacts and consequences on wildlife is a main objective. The information that we gather helps to make proposals for reducing the reasons for their admission.
Tortoises with 652 brought in, are by far the most assisted species. Most of them have come from captivity, but 175 from accidents. As for the rest of the species, the main admissions are bird chicks that have been born in towns, fallen out of their nests and abandoned. Most of these chicks are those of swallows and sparrows, as well as owls, kestrels, thrushes and green finches. Many birds that are brought in are the result of collisions especially on roads (47). Road collisions are suffered particularly by tortoises, hedgehogs, owls, kestrels and barn owls. Notable, also, are collisions with large windows undetected by birds flying rapidly, resulting in serious accidents.
Power lines are also causes of repeated accidents, through collisions or electrocution. 35 have been brought in because of electrocution. Those affected are usually large birds such as ravens, raptors and gulls. Other causes for animals being taken in are the abandoned fishing nets and plastic ropes that affect gulls and especially marine turtles. Attacks by dogs and cats on wild animals have caused 19 admissions. Also notable are 19 cases of birds falling into water tanks, most worrying of which are the raptors. It is possible to reduce this problem by putting floating ramps so that the animals that fall in accidentally can get out.
Exotic invasive species are a problem for wild animals. Notable is the case of water turtles from Florida some of which have been freed into the wild and are examples that have established themselves in different damp areas of Menorca. Now the law prohibits owning these turtles, and the Centre of Recuperation is where people who have any should take them and never release them into the wild. In 2022 we received 28 exotic turtles.
The Centre of Recuperation of Menorca is able to work thanks to the enormous help of many people and entities. Its management by GOB is enabled thanks to a collaboration agreement with the Consorci de Fauna de les Illes Balears (COFIB). Essential, also, is the help of the Lithica Foundation.
They give us the space for the Centre. GOB also thanks the veterinary clinic of Jaume Pons, the Consell Insular (Menorca Island Governing Council) and the town Halls of Ciutadella, Maó, Es Mercadal, Ferreries, Sant Lluis and Es Castell. Grateful thanks also for the help of local police, the Environment Agencies and of SEPRONA (The Nature Protection Service of the Guardia Civil).
Special thanks go to the people who have contributed to the funding of the Centre, sponsoring an animal, and to all the people who have brought in injured animals to the Centre for care. Grateful thanks, also, to the shops and businesses that have provided food. And, of course, to the whole team of volunteers, who have been a key element without whom we could not function.
The Annual Report for the year 2022 can be seen in full detail here.
Another protected bird wounded by shooting taken into the Recuperation Centre
A Scopoli’s shearwater has been taken into the Wildlife Centre for Recuperation, victim of a shotgun. It is the second case in a month when a protected species has been taken for the same reason. The last time it was a hawk, a peregrine falcon. This is not the permissible time for hunting and so it cannot have been shot in error. We have made official complaints to SEPRONA and to the environmental and hunting authorities, hoping that they can find the guilty person and solve this illegal practice.
The Scopoli’s shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) is a marine bird that lives in the open sea. It goes to land only when it wants to breed. At this time of the year, groups begin to be seen near the coast. The injured shearwater was found a mile out to sea, with a recent wound in its wing. Once it was looked at, a break was seen caused by a shotgun cartridge. It is hard to imagine how this could have occurred.
The bird is now being cared for in the Centre to see if it can recover adequately. Shearwaters become really stressed when they are deprived of their liberty. We are worried how to give support for a long time at the Centre, enough required for mending the fracture. It is complicated in Centres of Recuperation because of the time needed to cure the fractures and they do not survive well in captivity.
The shearwater is a species of high level protection, catalogued as “vulnerable” in the Spanish Catalogue of Threatened Species by Royal Decree 139/2011. The penal code provides for prison and heavy fines for anyone who shoots at any of these species of high level protection.
You can watch commemorative video of the 45 years that GOB has been in Menorca.
Land stewardship agreement with a solar park
Taking advantage of the conditions of low human presence in a solar park, GOB has signed a land stewardship agreement with the Parc del Camí de Sant Joan in order to promote maximum biodiversity.
The installation of a solar energy park will begin to be constructed in the next few months and will occupy about 10 hectares of very rocky land. It has obtained a favourable report from the Medi Ambient department and a municipal licence.
The idea is to carry out various activities at the points where there are no solar panels in order to help different fauna: make drinking troughs with safe access; warm refuges for insects; stone refuges for mammals; areas for sowing cereals; enhancement of wild flowers of different seasons, etc.
GOB has already produced some inventories of flora and fauna of the area in order to be able to monitor the changes as they occur.
The implementation of renewable energies in rural areas has quite exhaustive criteria relating to zoning, integration with the countryside and construction systems, aimed at avoiding the irreversible transformation of the land. With this agreement, the aim is to go further and try out activities that help fauna in a positive way.
We are confident that good results will follow and that the experience serves to increase the environmental benefits of renewable installations that are being implemented on the island.
Look here to see the commemorative video of 45 years of GOB in Menorca.
Formal complaint made about the shooting of a peregrine falcon
We have made a formal complaint to SEPRONA and the Environmental Police of a peregrine falcon that was wounded by a shotgun. The Peregrine falcon is now in the Centre of Recuperation for Wild Animals. Falcons are a protected species, but this type of activity takes place repeatedly. We hope that this time the perpetrator can be found and that the sanctions defined by the law, among which are prison sentences, can be applied. It is inadmissible that this type of aggression can occur in Menorca.
The falcon was located at the beginning of the Mahon industrial estate, unable to fly. The x-ray confirmed that the bird had been shot by a hunting gun. It had three pellets lodged in it, one of which caused a fracture in the left wing that stopped if from flying. The animal is now having care in the Centre of Recuperation. We wait to see if the fracture will mend sufficiently to be able to set the falcon free. Falcons hunt in flight and require wings in a perfect state so that they can eat.
Taking in falcons that have been shot to the Recuperation Centre is, sadly, not exceptional. The last cases were in 2020. Given that the places of the activities vary, the chances of an injured animal being located and taken to GOB are low and we fear that this unjustifiable practice is too frequent in Menorca.
GOB has made a formal complaint and has asked for the maximum effort to have this practice cleared up totally. We would also ask if anyone has any information they should report it. It is incredible that an island that sells itself as an example of respect for nature can produce such contrary activities and we must not allow that a minority of people can throw this image away and over so many years.
Watch the video here commemorating the 45 years of GOB in Menorca.
Claiming water for the Albufera des Grau
The lack of control over freshwater is affecting the Albufera. The protest excursion that took place last Sunday, in the cold, wind and downpours of rain, was aimed to explain the problem.
The Albufera consists of a wide water basin (more than 50 square kilometres) and historically the water was supplied from different sources throughout the year. However, the drilling of wells did not consider leaving even a drop for the natural environment. What is called the ecological flow does not exist and this problem is being taken very seriously.
The largest lagoon of Menorca, the “Parque Natural” (Nature Preserve) of the island, the crown of the Reserve of the Biosphere, has a habitat that has been transformed because it is no longer supplied by freshwater, the lake has become saline and the bird populations are declining drastically.
It is therefore urgent to review the existing catchments in the environment. It is important to see if they are authorised, if they have meters that have been mandatory for many years, to check if readings are being made and if the data is being sent every year as established by current legislation.
The case of the Royal Irrigation Ditch should be legally analysed. It was documented as early as the XVI century that water is sent by turns to different farms ending up at the Albufera. For many years, this circulation has not been happening because water is removed at the head of the lagoon.
Finally, more short-term activities need to be looked at, such as analysing the possibility of using part of the purified water from the new treatment plant of the northern urbanisations to take to the most protected area of Menorca and help its recovery.
Cases such as this show clearly the urgency for changing the habitual inaction in the management of water in Menorca. We need ministries to act and not be inhibited by problems.
29 January, excursion, concerning unsustainability, Albufera des Grau
A new excursion for the campaign Menorca, InSOStenible (Unsustainable) will take place on Sunday 29 January. This time, the main subject will be the environmental effect resulting from the lowering of the water level and the lack of control over fresh water resources.
The Albufera des Grau is symbolic of Menorca’s nature. The largest wetlands area of the island suffered from repeated attempts for it to be urbanised, but the constant public response was to paralyse urban growth, the projected golf course and intentions to convert the lagoon into a nautical harbour.
In addition was the initiative of people who planted hundreds of plants and recovered the dunes area near the beach, and over the area that had been designated for a golf course and was nearly destroyed. Today, this area has completely recovered.
Nevertheless, the Albufera is dying. The progressive reduction of freshwater going into the lagoon means that it is becoming seriously saline. The impact is such that the bird populations are collapsing, which is not happening in other wetlands on the Island.
In 40 years, the Albufera has lost 90% of the usual bird population that was living there. Yes, it is a Natural Parkland, but, the uncontrolled taking of fresh water for other uses is killing off many of the natural values of this emblematic space.
The excursion, Menorca In-SOS-tenible, on Sunday will be to raise awareness of the problem, to understand the evolution of the place and consider possible solutions. People interested should meet at 10 am in the carpark of the Es Grau beach. It is estimated to end at 13.30.
It will be of low physical difficulty and there is no need for prior booking. It will not be cancelled even if the weather is bad. Please pass on this information to all your friends and, if possible, share a vehicle.
You can watch here the video commemorating 45 years of GOB in Menorca.
Become part of GOB, 45 years later (video)
Many people say they have always wanted to be a part of GOB, but they never find the right moment. Now is an ideal time . This is because we are celebrating 45 years of uninterrupted years of ecology, of an association that has not stopped growing and establishing itself socially. Continue reading Become part of GOB, 45 years later (video)
Saturday, a public event in recognition of Jaume Pons, as recipient of the Pere Prats Prize for the Environment
You are invited to attend the occasion for the public recognition of Jaume Pons as the recipient of the Pere Prats Prize for the Environment. It will be this Saturday 19 November at 19.00 hours at the Molí del Rei (Camí des Castell, 53, de Maó). It is an opportunity to thank him for so many years of his dedication as a professional vet voluntarily caring for the animals that enter the Recuperation Centre for Wild Animals of Menorca. Continue reading Saturday, a public event in recognition of Jaume Pons, as recipient of the Pere Prats Prize for the Environment
The crisis of pollinators – talk at GOB
This Wednesday, 9 November at 20.00 hours, Pau Enric Serra will give a talk on the pollinator crisis at the GOB headquarters in Maó (Cami des Castell, 53). Pollinators are the key to ecosystems and crop productivity. Continue reading The crisis of pollinators – talk at GOB