Fundacion CBD Habitat

Madrid, Spain

Fundacion CBD Habitat

Madrid, Spain
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PubMed | WWF Espana, ANPC, Instituto da Conservacao da Natureza e das Florestas, Agencia de Medio Ambiente y Agua de Andalucia and 4 more.
Type: | Journal: Scientific reports | Year: 2016

Emergent diseases may alter the structure and functioning of ecosystems by creating new biotic interactions and modifying existing ones, producing cascading processes along trophic webs. Recently, a new variant of the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV2 or RHDVb) arguably caused widespread declines in a keystone prey in Mediterranean ecosystems - the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). We quantitatively assess the impact of RHDV2 on natural rabbit populations and in two endangered apex predator populations: the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) and the Spanish Imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti). We found 60-70% declines in rabbit populations, followed by decreases of 65.7% in Iberian lynx and 45.5% in Spanish Imperial eagle fecundities. A revision of the web of trophic interactions among rabbits and their dependent predators suggests that RHDV2 acts as a keystone species, and may steer Mediterranean ecosystems to management-dependent alternative states, dominated by simplified mesopredator communities. This model system stresses the importance of diseases as functional players in the dynamics of trophic webs.

Guil F.,Tragsega | Agudin S.,Tragsega | El-Khadir N.,Tragsega | Fernandez-Olalla M.,E.T.S. Ingenieros de Montes | And 7 more authors.
European Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2010

Camera trapping is the most used method for surveying medium-sized carnivores in Spain. The main target for these surveys has been the Iberian lynx, the most endangered cat in the world. The Iberian lynx conservation program has received the largest EU LIFE projects grant. So, efficiency is a key goal for managing this grant. During 2003 and 2007, we have applied these funds to the survey of the Iberian lynx in Eastern Sierra Morena (Spain). Using two different techniques, we have studied both to see which is the most efficient. The survey developed in active latrines resulted more efficient than that of scent stations and live prey camera trapping throughout the years, although there has been a variation between years. Otherwise, the live prey method has been the one providing the greatest speed and number of pictures per entrance. We suggest that camera-trapping surveys can be improved in terms of efficiency for a wide range of species, or at least for the Iberian lynx. To improve the results, cameras might be placed in relation to breeding territories. With this determinant, camera-trapping surveys would be shorter than 120 days. Finally, we suggest how those surveys for medium carnivores should be designed. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Martinez-Jauregui M.,CIFOR INIA | Tavecchia G.,CSIC - Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies | Cedenilla M.A.,Fundacion CBD Habitat | Coulson T.,Imperial College London | And 3 more authors.
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2012

Environmental and demographic stochasticity alone can push small populations to extinction. However, some small populations can persist for a long time at a low density, maintaining potential for rapid growth. We investigated the demographic mechanisms underlying the response of the population of the Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus on the Cabo Blanco peninsula (Mauritania/Morocco). The population was dramatically reduced after a demographic crash in 1997, which was initially thought to have pushed the population toward extinction. Census data, individual-based data on presence-absence and breeding state data were obtained by direct observation, by photo-identification and through the analysis of video images at the only known breeding sites for the species. We found that the monk seal population at Cabo Blanco is recovering, with means of 31 (24.8, 36.8) sub-adults, 46 (42.3, 49.7) adult females and 39 (29.1, 48.4) adult males using the 2 breeding sites in 2007. The population structure is similar to proportions prior to the mass mortality event. Annual survival probabilities for sub-adults, adult females and adult males were 0.81 (0.676 to 0.904), 0.99 (0.926 to 0.998) and 0.87 (0.81 to 0.94), respectively. At present, juvenile survival is unknown, but the high survival of females and the high breeding potential are likely to be responsible for the population recovery. © Inter-Research 2012 ·

Gonzalez L.M.,Subdireccion General del Medio Natural | De Larrinoa P.F.,Fundacion CBD Habitat
Mammalia | Year: 2013

The most important surviving colony of the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) inhabits the Atlantic Saharan coast. The population has not recovered despite the cessation of commercial sealing in the second half of the 20th century. We report the distribution of the monk seals within the region from 1940 to 1989 and their interactions with fisheries, from data gathered through interviews of fishermen. Our study shows a notable decrease in the seals' range during the study period. Observations of seals on open beaches and exposed rocks decreased, while observations in caves increased. Important negative interactions between monk seals and fisheries were detected, with the most frequent interactions being bycatch in gillnets and bottom trawl nets. Reports obtained from fishermen clearly indicate that the seals were still being deliberately killed on land during the 20th century, which likely caused the extirpation of seal populations hauling out on beaches. We recommend that mortality due to fishery bycatch be added as a contributing factor to the decline of the monk seal populations in the region from 1940 to 1989. We also recommend conservation measures such as the establishment of a permanent marine reserve along the Atlantic Coast of the Cap Blanc Peninsula. © 2013 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.

Karamanlidis A.A.,MOm Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal | Dendrinos P.,MOm Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal | de Larrinoa P.F.,Fundacion CBD Habitat | Gucu A.C.,Middle East Technical University | And 3 more authors.
Mammal Review | Year: 2016

The Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus is the most endangered seal species. In this review we summarize the status, ecology, and behaviour of the Mediterranean monk seal, and identify the main threats that currently affect the species and the conservation priorities for securing its survival. Once abundant throughout the Black Sea and Mediterranean, as well as off the Atlantic coasts of northwestern Africa and Macaronesia, the Mediterranean monk seal has recently suffered dramatic declines, both in abundance and geographical range. It is now estimated that fewer than 700 individuals survive in three or four isolated subpopulations in the eastern and western Mediterranean, the archipelago of Madeira and the Cabo Blanco area in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean. Mediterranean monk seals are coastal marine mammals. When resting and pupping on land, individuals generally seek refuge in inaccessible marine caves; this behaviour is, in part, believed to be an adaptation to increased disturbance by humans. Larger aggregations or colonies of the species can now be found only at Cabo Blanco in the Atlantic Ocean and on the island of Gyaros in the eastern Mediterranean. The main threats to the survival of the Mediterranean monk seal are habitat deterioration; deliberate killing, mainly by fishermen; and accidental entanglement and drowning in fishing gear. Limited availability of food sources and stochastic and unusual events have occasionally also contributed to Mediterranean monk seal mortality. Based on a common consensus among scientists and conservationists, the main conservation priorities for the monk seal are: habitat protection; mitigating negative interactions between seals and fisheries; scientific research and monitoring of local seal populations; education and public awareness campaigns; and rescue and rehabilitation of wounded, sick, and orphaned seals. © 2016 The Mammal Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Margalida A.,Bearded Vulture Study and Protection Group | Moreno-Opo R.,Fundacion CBD Habitat | Arroyo B.E.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos CSIC UCLM JCCM | Arredondo A.,Fundacion CBD Habitat
Animal Conservation | Year: 2011

Limitation of disturbing activities around the breeding areas of protected species is not always possible, if these activities are economically important and have, in addition, positive effects on protecting the habitats of those protected species. Searching for optimal solutions making commercial exploitation of natural resources compatible with biodiversity conservation is thus of concern to managers and policy makers. This is the case of the cinereous vulture Aegypius monachus, breeding primarily in cork-oak woodland, and cork exploitation, a traditional socio-economic activity carried out in several Mediterranean countries, and critical for the maintenance of this important habitat. We studied the effects of this anthropogenic activity on the behaviour and breeding success of breeding cinereous vultures in Spain. For the adults, the probability of nest abandonment was dependent on the distance of workers from the nest and the level of noise; activities within 500m from the nest were likely to cause abandonment of the nest by adults, if the level of noise was intermediate or loud. Neither the size of the working group nor the use of machines per se, had any effect on the probability of nest abandonment. Pairs in an area of the colony exposed to intrusive anthropogenic activity had 20% lower breeding success than those in the same colony that were not exposed to these disturbances. If the application of buffer zones of 500m is not possible (as is likely given the economic losses involved), several alternatives are recommended based on our results to minimize the impact of these activities, in particular to diminish the noise level of cork extraction activities. Observational studies like this help understanding the magnitude of the problem and finding alternative solutions for harmonizing conservation and economic development. © 2010 The Authors. Animal Conservation © 2010 The Zoological Society of London.

Fernandez-Olalla M.,Technical University of Madrid | Martinez-Jauregui M.,Technical University of Madrid | Guil F.,Fundacion CBD Habitat | Miguel-Ayanz A.S.,Technical University of Madrid
European Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2010

In Spain, wild rabbits are essential for some highly endangered species, and, therefore, many actions have been undertaken to increase their populations. In the present study, artificial warrens are provided as a means to increase shelter for native wild rabbit populations in a given area. We evaluate the use of three types of warrens by rabbits and the effect on that use of five habitat characteristics at two spatial scales (500 × 500-m grids and 25-m plots). To evaluate that use, we identified pre-established signs at the entrances to each warren, and based on this, we calculated occupancy rate and activity. Our results indicate that rabbit abundance within a grid is the only variable which simultaneously explains both the greater occupancy and the higher activity in the artificial warrens located in that grid. Some 73.2% of the grids showed signs of rabbit use at the time of the evaluation. However, the pre-existing rabbit populations within the grids were not quantified and, hence, we cannot state that the warrens contributed to an increase in the rabbit abundance. Regarding the habitat, our results reveal that warrens should be situated in grids with food coverage of less than 50%, while the use of each individual refuge is greater where food availability in the immediate surroundings is at least 20% and shelter at least 50%. The tube warrens showed significantly greater rabbit use than the other types while there was little difference between the stone and pallet warrens in terms of use. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Moreno-Opo R.,Fundacion CBD Habitat | Margalida A.,Bearded Vulture StudyandProtection Group | Arredondo A.,Fundacion CBD Habitat | Guil F.,Fundacion CBD Habitat | And 4 more authors.
Wildlife Biology | Year: 2010

We studied the factors that determine the presence of the cinereous vulture Aegypius monachus at 134 carcasses experimentally distributed in Special Protection Areas for Birds (SPA) in western and central Spain. Our goals were to assess the use of these carcasses and by-products in order to find out the cinereous vulture's food preferences and thus provide recommendations for the management of specific vulture restaurants for this species. Our results suggest that the number of cinereous vultures that come to feed on the carcasses is related to the quantity of biomass present and to the types of pieces of the provided food. Cinereous vultures prefer individual, medium-sized muscular pieces and small peripheral scraps of meat and tendon. The time that elapses before the cinereous vultures begin to consume a carcass depends on the biomass delivered, the number of pieces into which it is divided, and the type categories of the provided food. The population density of the species in our study area and the breeding stage seem to determine the time invested in feeding at the carcasses. These results may help managers to optimise the creation of vulture restaurants and favour their use by cinereous vultures. © 2010 Wildlife Biology.

Moreno-Opo R.,Fundacion CBD Habitat | Fernandez-Olalla M.,Technical University of Madrid | Guil F.,Fundacion CBD Habitat | Arredondo A.,Fundacion CBD Habitat | And 4 more authors.
ORYX | Year: 2011

To establish recommendations for wetland management that promote wildlife diversity in Mediterranean habitats we examined the factors that determine feeding habitat selection by the black stork Ciconia nigra in ponds. The black stork is considered an umbrella species because it is threatened, requires large foraging ranges in priority areas, is selective in its choice of diet and nesting sites, and inhabits a characteristic biological community with endemic and threatened taxa. Eighty-five ponds were monitored in central and western Spain to detect the stork feeding. At the same time, pond variables that could affect black stork feeding preferences were periodically evaluated. Generalized linear mixed models were used to analyse principal components obtained from groups of factors related to structural, location and ecological conditions. The black stork selects ponds distant from roads, with a large surface area, high water level, shallow shores, low turbidity, few traces of wild ungulates on the shores, a high diversity of fish and amphibian species, and a vegetated perimeter, in flat and open areas. Potential factors affecting feeding behaviour are discussed. We suggest measures for pond construction and management that could favour this species in particular and biodiversity in general in the Mediterranean environment. © 2011 Fauna & Flora International.

Moreno-Opo R.,Fundacion CBD Habitat | Arredondo A.,Fundacion CBD Habitat | Guil F.,Fundacion CBD Habitat
Ardeola | Year: 2010

We analysed the foraging area of cinereous vultures from a breeding colony of central Spain which were feeding on livestock carcasses by an indirect method that estimated movement ranges and feeding locations. Between 2004 and 2008 we checked the origin of 377 cattle tags, collected at nests and perches of the species. Using the individual codes of tags, we obtained the location (livestock exploitation) where the vultures fed. The average distance of the locations was 26.3 km (SD = 36.1). The linear flight routes ranged from 7.9 km to 342 km from the point of tag collection. The minimum convex polygon of all locations was 66, 732.28 km 2. The home range of cinereous vultures feeding on carcasses (95 %, analysis Kernel) was 152, 290.13 ha. We discuss the methodology used in this study compared to others using radiotracking as the location technique. Differences between methods probably explain why estimates of foraging areas and distances varied widely. These differences are analysed in relation to the different prey categories, the economic land use, type of habitat and the presence of predictable sources of food.

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