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Lopez-Bao J.V.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Sazatornil V.,Asesores en Recursos Naturales SL | Llaneza L.,Asesores en Recursos Naturales SL | Llaneza L.,University of Porto | Rodriguez A.,CSIC - Donana Biological Station
Conservation Letters | Year: 2013

Conservation agencies within the European Union promote the restoration of traditional land uses as a cost-effective way to preserve biodiversity outside reserves. Although the European Union pursues the integration of the environment into strategic decision-making, it also dictates sectoral policies that may damage farmland biodiversity. We illustrate this point by outlining the socioeconomic factors that allow the persistence of traditional free-ranging horse husbandry in Galicia, northwestern Spain. Free-ranging Galician mountain ponies provide ecological and socioeconomic services including the prevention of forest fires, the maintenance of heathlands and wolves, and the attenuation of wolf-human conflicts. This traditional livestock system may have persisted because it entails negligible costs for farmers. Wolf predation upon Galician mountain ponies does not threaten farmer's economies and seems to be tolerated better than attacks to more valuable stock. Recently, European Union's regulations on animal welfare, carcass management, or meat production put new economic and administrative burdens on farmers, make free-ranging horse rearing economically unsustainable, and incentivize its abandonment. The aim of the European Union to integrate environmental policies may be successful to preserve farmland biodiversity only through careful anticipation of the side effects of apparently unrelated regulations on the fragile equilibrium that sustain traditional land uses. ©2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source


Santos N.,University of Minho | Santos N.,University of Porto | Maior H.R.,University of Porto | Nakamura M.,University of Porto | And 9 more authors.
European Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2014

Hematology and serum biochemistry are important tools in assessing the health and physiological status of wildlife populations. Nevertheless, studies on free-ranging wolves (Canis lupus) are scarce, and no reference values are available neither for Iberian wolves nor for wolves captured with leg-hold snares. We report 37 hematology and serum biochemistry variables obtained from 26 free-ranging Iberian wolves captured with leg-hold snares between 2007 and 2014, including variables previously not reported in the literature. The values obtained are similar to the published reference intervals for Scandinavian wolves captured by darting from a helicopter, except for higher values for mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC), red blood cell distribution width (RDW), leukocyte count, creatinine kinase (CK), γ-globulins, and total bilirubin (TBIL) and lower values for alkaline phosphatase (ALP). We propose that differences in leukocyte count, CK, and TBIL are related to the method of capture, while differences in RDW, MCHC, ALP, and γ-globulins could reflect physiological adaptations to environmental conditions, sampling, or pre-analytical artifacts. Lymphocyte count was lower and neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio was significantly higher in older, reproductive females, while ALP and phosphorus were higher in juvenile wolves. For the first time, we describe hematology and serum biochemistry values of free-ranging Iberian wolves captured with leg-hold snares. The data reported here is the first published reference for wolves captured with similar methods and for monitoring Iberian wolves populations’ physiological and health status. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source


Millan J.,Andres Bello University | Garcia E.J.,Asesores en Recursos Naturales SL | Oleaga A.,Sociedad de Servicios del Principado de Asturias S.A | Oleaga A.,University of Castilla - La Mancha | And 9 more authors.
Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz | Year: 2014

The Iberian wolf (Canis lupus) is the top predator in the Iberian environments in which it lives, feeding on a wide range of species, thus encountering a wide range of disease agents. Therefore, the wolf can serve as sentinel of environmental contamination with pathogens. We investigated the exposure of free-living wolves to 14 serovars of Leptospira interrogans sensu lato. Kidney samples from 49 wolves collected from 2010-2013 in northwestern Spain were analysed by culture, direct immunofluorescence and polymerase chain reaction. Tissue fluids were analysed for antibodies by a microscopic agglutination test. Ten wolves (observed prevalence: 20%, 95% confidence interval = 11-33%) showed evidence of contact with leptospires, eight through direct detection and nine through serology (7 wolves were positive according to both techniques). Titres below the cut-off level were also detected in seven cases. Serovars confirmed were Canicola (n = 4), Icterohaemorrhagiae (n = 3) and Sejroë, Ballum and Grippotyphosa (n = 1 each), indicating that wolves were infected with serovars for which dogs, rodents and ungulates, are the natural hosts and supporting the utility of the wolf and other large predators as environmental sentinels for pathogens. © 2014 Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz. All rights reserved. Source

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