Sounder SIGN UP FOR FREE
Armchair Travel with Naturetrek
Armchair Travel with Naturetrek

Episode 6 · 1 year ago

Conserving Iberian Wolves and Lynx in Spain, with Byron Palacios

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Tour Leader Byron Palacios has been leading Naturetrek tours for over 15 years, and in this podcast, we talk conservation on the Iberian peninsula, as Byron tells us about the thrill of searching for Iberian Wolves and Lynx in Spain.

Need to trake podcast, bringingwildlife to you in your living room in this episode. We're talkingconservation on the Iberian Peninsula as Tuly. The Vien Palacios tells usabout the thrill of searching for Iberian wolfes and Linx in Spain, hello and welcome to another net trekpodcast now joining me today is Byron, who is an Equadorian ecologist andfield or nithologist who's been leaning for NAT trek for over fifteen yearshe's an excellent verder with a vast knowledge of the new topicalum westernPaliarctic Avivona, and his contributed a number of important discoveries toEcuador in Ornothology, all of which have been published in scientificmagazines, he's also actively involved in many birding and conservationprograms in Spain and is an authority on Iberian Wildlife, which is what he'sgoing to be talking to is about today. He's joining me on the line now fromhis heme indorset Virat, hello welker. How are you dont, Yor, well, very, very well andlocged own? Actually, how could it be joing? He thought of the wide lifearounds with a quietness, so yet so far, so good so far, so goodAndelyeah Bu, also Ou k, O Radi, really looking forward to be out backingaction. You know traveling around so hoped athappened soon. Aren't we all? Definitely I should have been out inBarhal in March and would be off to sink. Do in INJULASA. Yes, what chosewould youhave been leading Viron? Well, it's mainly the Americas. You knowthat's, which is my Lok of patch being from from South America, originally anErnofslespain and the bestor of as well. So that's that's my current patchreally and Spain is in fact really the area that you're going to be talking tois about today and and specifically too species that are quite close to yourheart, and these are the Iberian Wolf and Iberian linxs and the first wall.Can you just give us an overview of where this actually is situated? Whatis the Iberian Penincia? What's meant by this? Yes, we know generally as as uh as ThasBretens, that wil you bring to your mind, Spain. You know you automaticallythink of Costabraba Costo, the soul, the sunshining and the Sunshin, N andand beaches. But actually you know we don't. We forget, even evenpeople into whylife the tend to forget the Spain located in in Peninsula, whichcompens Portugal, as well as the little straip n the West, but they actually a very isolatedareagographically. This is what made things an great and interesting,because the pyrings obviously isolate Um Spain, UNPORTUGAL Beindev inpenintolitself in a completely different Um. Let's say I England island, if youcould want to call it that way, and hence the different organisims have developedinto their own. I mean we have gosh, we have IVA matpies, you know ForminColiss, your wing Magpie. We have Spanish inperioleval, we have theIURIAN Chif Chaff. We have M uh, you know pretty much suchspecies aswell on your anpenisula and you know itmammals mmammal's wise. We have Iberan WALFS, anibarin links. This latter, en you know, happened tobe one of the rarest cats in the world which was really about to disappear. ING The lateeighties m said this is what you know make Spain Anibein Peninso are quiteuniqueewrittin, Europe,...

...okay and you lead or too is there tosee both those species, wolves and link. Canus Tos, O first with the wolves ans,give us an olderview f of the Ibern of what most people think of a golf theythink of what is going to be agree. They we're familiar with, of course, in North America. So how isthe Iberian Wolf Different? Can you tell us a bit about it? You are soncene behavior habitat yeah, completely complete after these isolation. I wastalking about this trapped population oflinxusngographically, trapped in in the Avriam peninsula. You know evolvedaccording to the habit. Hat is, is, is a mountinous. You know habyturt up in the mountains,cantavring mountains, the fotkils of the Pyrenees, and then you have all thethe the PATTA. You know across the thes northern FoothillsMidlands and the south with a lot of Sierras for mounting chains along which creates myprohabitats. Not,although three or four of the main habitats in Spain, particularly orineverant Peninsulo, are quite um unchangeable in terms of they, theythey keep quite unique throughout the year. The mountains provide a very good viration of of oftemperature perfectlythise animals. Now agering wolfs particularly evolved insize, Cirstliger, slipis, smaller Han than than Um European Greay wolvs, and also junkyoir Mo Musco because they move they movin. You know in mantonous areas, sothey debeld mark e muscular bodies, a D and and in order to keep best very locogene, I theflowing their packsnumber and paks are really small. You know we found out to eleven theindividuals spread pack, unlike gray walls, Thar they leve up to twentyor twenty two or even twenty five. It is the case of the North American wont.So yet that's one of the main main changes. The second one is Thei Diet.The diets are really specialized between redbear and wild Bor. A lot ofpeople think that they go onthere mainly, but I think I think, an and nbased on evivents in t e rold of droptings and things mainly wild, borethat they had an en there's plenty which is plentyo across the Ceninsulenand and also how secretive they are. They really very th t th there ther wayof leaving according to the seasons that, during the winters when they aremost active and they are um hunting the most. There is a lot ofBulnar of prey during the winter one, some of thespanse northern winters in the mountains ar the hardest in Europe. Youknow with temperatures loering down to minus thirty M and Lord Snow and theymove they move from quite consttantly in this and wet now. This um way of leaving have put them ona sort of- I wouldn't say Berch, O distinction, but the problems with withthe actual Aberon Cos at the moment is it's: where, where do they actuallyspread? Their territories could go? I mean onterritocoud spreading twohundred and fifty squake ilometers and but the importance importance of theAlfamelad dedominant female of e female in order to keep the packs successun inorder to to control the nambers is...

...parmen important. This is what peopleneed to understand. They, they packs, are well well limitedgeographically, so it will be, really is not like one pack producesyoungsters, and then these youngsters will splat and form another pack. It'sit's more complex than that. He probably take apter five years orfive generations. I would say to for that pack co to produce a now SUPLTENGOAAMALTA will willing to take their own packingdependently to another areaunless they, the Alfa, Mans Bein replaced. Put it like this, so henceyour man of Nambers as well. I mean we take the MOSOR of approximate figure ofof the estimate amount of wolfs an their grimphones oat moment. They arejust bordering the two thousand being the north of Spain, the main area forthem to live contaring mountains. Mainly now what is hermain threats? While youknow Wolf Av being I've been for centuries, even in fairy tales beingcompletely stygnmatized, because it's the big Badwolf, you know n and but is main in reality, it'smainly because they're so well organizes such a intelligentorganisinse that they tend to think like us that they complete directlywith human beings and what were we trying to to to do a thing for decades? I mean Idin't know when was there the blasto Wolfe kild in in the uq FourteenthCentury Fifteenth Century? But it was because of that reason 'cause. Wethought they they're. Always bad and ther was cousing damage to to what theythey is food for us as well, I mean t y. They go after life stock. We likeafster its tock as well and ISIT's. Now, an economic. U Income for farmers andand and revenue for thise places where they arcor now they have to be controlled.Unfortunately- and this is part of the conservation sort of programs beentaking idu in in in Theaberinpeninsula at the moment, so the legislationallowed to control will control the population in the Northern Bank of theriver dwerre and one in the sertern bank is untouchable. Um Budecis, mainly due to a lotofpolitical interest as well and Um it Solso to protect o keepd, the form,the farming or the cow, ranging of lifestork business. Going now have yousaid that there's very little evidence Ofa Tax Oyou, know EVIBERIAN wolfes tolivestock. I mean I could pointet pointed out based Onte, twothousand and eighteen m resolves from the Soprono eemvoromental sponge police, the tem after thirty a bunch of thirtyfive Um reports by farmers from from Lihts of being kilet by wolves. Youknow, allegedly three of them were actually young Wolfs Tam that I shoald kill. Ast of the others werefake. So how are they being faked? Well, the farmerst. Obviously they they wild,never agreed with the protection of the laws. So it's so difficult to to. Theyhave to prove when they, when they want to claim or make a claim of a list ofloves by it by by Wolf and that's obviously, scientific is not like theold days Tatsay. Oh, they killed me three. So I'm GOINGTO chargecompensation for three at the end of...

...the year I's not like that. It's morecomplix now the Sopronat police same to special unit to actually therewere avery comprehensive researcher investigationabout the size of the Bides, the the SIZT OI of t, you know, oall theevidence they collect and and take feshout osome accurate results, as Isaid. Hence that is very Lov and and also H. Eother reason is, unless its avery you know, ofmissive Alfathe, Asoria, samissive male is being thrownout from from the pack and is just nandering around young thereare, moreadventures than than than AUM individuals, because they're Mo te nthey'r clever, they n' they're not going to go where, where there are nownowadays, Thee. The farmers and shepherds are more sophisticated withmachinery, Wi h with four by four tracks and all the stuff they're notgoing to get close to them. Firstly, because you know that that means danger,O Bein ta, the Nice will be a risk and also because they hav plenty of food.They have centy food N in the wiles plenty O wilework plenty of theer Um,so th e is real little reasons for them to going attackand. This has beenproved by many many people who who dedicate the lass to study aber onwolves and and his being has been proved yeah. You see ou se stories ifthis inconsurvation, don't you just all over the world ands, and I used to be awild life guide up in H, Hebedes and therre similar stories with theintroduction. I realize these worlds haven't been reinroduced, but with thereintroductions of the Whiteold Eagles up there and the clashes that they hadwith sheet farmers and Shep farmers accused them of taking the lans and,and s and h would compensate the farmersfor any lands that were taken. But when you weigh this up h, the costof a Aland, the market value of Alanis is anywhere between or fifty to, twoehundred pounds and when you now see what the actualincome value of tourism to see what tilegals is and what that brings to theeconomy according to the RSPB website. This brings in five million pounds onmull alone every year and of a a two million pounds a year on Ila Um and youdo have to Tok be sensible with it in trying way up that it. It's unfortunate thing inconservation that to protect a species, they need to be made more valuablealive than dead, which is what the white teld eagles have done, and nowThart of Red Success Story. Really. Do you see a similar perceptions of being taken on board W with the wolves?whatwhat is the perception of the locals? Clearly, the farmers. Don'treally like the what you pick upon when you're taking our groups there and andtraveling to see the walls. Is it a or lie? Do you think, do you thinkhecoultoism s is helping them? Is it going to play a good role in protectingthem? Well E CURECI Y Isen as been tarrific terific tool for conservation,not just to words wideif like the Importan Wilofin keywile of lowBiribern Wolls, but for the locals that they really noticed that in the lastfifte years we've been doing thero or you know, even more than that, we haverobe tat interest, you know to say hey holl in a second. This could be one ofone of the main revenues that you could have. Instead of you know getting ridof them now. The most important thing of the process,I think, has has been that we can set to them. Youknow what you're in the wild and when you meet up, you know with a shepherdor the farmer. You do tell them that. There's no need to be against them. Youknow there is a control. There is a...

...control that some of the counties in in in Spain are, you know quite good at Um, some ofthem get some relinue byin biting hunters to give five or six wolvs ayear, some others. You know. There's dedicated group of Rangers that thatmonitor them and they know which on to taking work to control nembers and boththings, as I say so far have been working together. Really well, is being is trying to reach that balance that Ithink we are sort of on top. The problem now is the the poaching and Um.This is why you know t evironmental police ESCIP. This is working reallyhard toward tats. Now the other thing that benefits the wolfs indirectly,it's especially in the areas of occurrence of the Caontarian Brown beeris these animal itself because they are protected strictly protected, BronBearsin, Spain and Um. They do share habitad the overlab. They don't competebecause you know brawnberrs are of niborous. They could go on Carcakisduring the winter. Some of them don't really higin it over there butther notdirect um competitors with wolfs, but t the protection of Brown beer actuallyhave benefited the the statis of Agreein wolls. But, as yousaid, people are understanding way more, especially the localts and farmers,including farmers and shepherds. They understand theg importance of keepingwolf also for their for their Um genatic beneficial of the of th. The prey you know, Wybors, you know whoeve en also Bo thetype of beer down there do benefit F, having a natural,Predator t, the genetic values better there hencs the grass, the Habite emeadows. So it's you know when you litand Understandti is, I said, lookyou have now this meadow. You see it's this friendly high quality for yourcattle, but at's because to the worst believe you or not, because they keepthat improvement of of of the genetic valueon everything which also goes to to to the animals which a don the lowest slowest Beth ofthe of the prophic chain, and this is how you know I think we' get into thatpoint in the so of or review of this topicnow, whether Um Wot are going to be always a problem.Unfortunately, so far, you know that that is going to be always a a topicof,quite a polemic. I was going to say because, while doing what we have done, you knowiincreasing the ecaturism than there by taking ol groups to to see thes theseamazing animals. A lot of the locals are doing exactly the same thing, whichtwenty years ago wouldn't happen not even twenty ten years ago, din't happenand, of course, what you've just said is very reminiscent of the best wellknown example of this is, of course, in Yellowstone National Park, where inNineteen Thirties and the the ranges of the park societius that they want to kill all of the wolfs so that theycould increase the population of UNGULETZ for Hunteingson by nineteenthirty, six, all of the worlls they were killed and slowly but surelythey'e gon exactly what they wanted. All of the UNGULETTES, the most the deaof the elk just grew exponentially and, and it lowly began to destroy the park h y. They were browsing on too manysaplings and trees or bevers. There therefore had no trees, an th branches,tere, actually able to make their damswith to stole water. This meantthat there was actually wildfliers...

...across the park an and the the herdswere very large t, the deer and the elkt. They were unhealthy herds, they had all theelderly and the sick, which, of course the walls take an that's what they prayupon. They go prey upon the very fit species and and a lot of animalsstarted to leave the park, but they Raeedgestimin Ne Thousand Nine hundredand ninety five. If ten within one year, species that hadn't been seen there insixty years were returning, the SONERSW songbors were return ingons and now hethe park is, is very healthy and this just underpends how they really arekeystones serv in an envrironment. If you take them out, the EGOSYSTEM willcollapse. Yeah an Obsou retroduction management were completely different.It's it's, I think, could be in in in the long term, more difficult, ancontrolling nature, O populations in these cases, ofyoing wold, but indeedtothey. They improved everything and not n. onlythat, in terms of conservation, you will see when we started leadingtropestyl or taking tropes down to these areas, which IM incredibly remoteareas in Spain. U were people still thinking in Pacetas, rather than neuros they. You know there were no. They were really hard to find a placeto stay, but after all the years being operating there there's plenty now,because they now they have noticed th the economical benefit they have foundfrom the activity. We have promoted a meanin a lot of places. tating apartfrom the French Gyin, started, doing wolf traps in in Spain. We wear thepioneering nake trick pretty pioneer to this activity, which, as Av said, UmCasborna Loter, has wroke a lot of benefit for the for the those local villages and sothose local areas and individual of businesses that we use like such asaccommodation popality. You know food, local supermarkets, everything and people, people actuallysee Thain and they say would a minute as the SAI theyr. Your own Tis isworking in his benetriting and let be honest, let's Beyon this term in orderto jump Unte cats- I I think conservation- and I knowpeople Um Umdon't consid, this bu conservation sometimes ti be cruel. Wehave to take a bit of something to actually keep that something going socontrolling the numbers of Ibbin wolls would keep thes vilence, we neet thebalance Danit and we also avoiding the future this. This have youknow, problems with a species if they go out of our hands, because that isthe way I think as as ver intelligent animals, we are that's the the way toto control and keep them going still in the wiles and natural way. But you knowin their vast 'cause they have last Erytorstom all around that without clashing Wen with eachother. You know and just benefit both from them and what Lou the pressousperception of EGOTOURISM is that do they share the the publicexpeo just highlighted extis the remorve accmdations. Now that the havebeen in years more places to eat, tare more places to to go to and spend yourmoney, which is what the nate trict toes in our doing. Is it reflected inthe media? It has reprupting a lot now a lot ofthe medium. Obviously- and this is we're going back again, what I what Isaid about the the Cantarpian Brown Beer Um, because they're protected, andbecause the REASR and interes of the...

...local counties you know to go and tothese areas to supportt walking, indhamatic animal for a lot of thevillages in the areas that that there's any more accord, but that has brokedindirectly as Brouh great benefit as well. For for the wolfs. Now the press could be at times a bit realistic, but also others to be reallyMorin on the side of the fiction, rather than on the on the actualreality which no Amans is, could mislead Imelok um with some informationwe have tackled them. You know I remember having more than two or threearticles in the local press down there, but and also just touro threenewspapers and poblished the wrong thing. You knowby, as I storbing thatas been ther affecting the Wilet, when which I know we're doing complety theopposite. You know ut, you need to interationally invitedthem to to to. I stop giving them thei chance over the phone or eter o justcome with us. You don't see yourself and thenrive, so heres Aderstin, sothey're actually saying that you're disturbing the worlds nd so the assnleaking it from the conservation of the Wolf's point ofview. Rather than saying you shouldn't be here glorifying seeing these worlsesor something to be deemed as a Pestan, we shall kill them exactly, which iscompletely the wrong the wrong idea of of an this aav I mean people, wildwise, have thes sort ofhuge cup of that unfortunately falls on the Yong Innorance, you know and m. Ifyou want to wride about something you need to know about it and you need togo and see it yourself and experience it yourself. So this Journalis, Iremember, I hope, took over their perspective- was completely changed.They said O, I didn't imagine it was like Tisba so therego, so you areactually sat there very quietly in the spot, and the wolves are five hundred metresaway D. Youare there with your telescope. They ther'd probably knowsome clever animals and they probably know you are there, but you're, notdisturbing yeah, an you're, not I mean they wouldn't be there if you've beendisturbing because this this is what people don't. You know you don't know muchabout canyoning, especially Wolfwichis, avery, very intelligent animal. They wouldn't Jus, simply wild Hem, betherethey, wouldn't be there so um, I'm I'm always hoping that every time everyyear that passes- and we successfully see this animal thriving in nature Um, especially in the in in the country, and talking mainly about Spain,because Portugal is not really Thad involved, N in the wof conservation as their mainpopulations in Spain, Um that spite the problems and and certain issues that they're stillfacing with the local governments. The population is cribing, not just because we are there. U contributing to this, but also because the locals mentality, Havchanged, we mad a change and whoever goes there to do it and to show themthat this is what they need to protect. This is what they need to handle as their natural treasure handleappropriately m. that's that's how they are going tokeep everything everything flourishing and in in the right place, and when you-and we say we have changed the meaning nature, treck and running the toursthere or tourists or tourists as a whall. Well, while of tourism in general, I mean w.We started going pioneer in some areas...

...that nobody, not even locals, have gone,and now we we have um um of the companies. You know, followingthe same the same steps or OTE countries as well: OrganizingOrganizing Um, you know the same kind of of tourism, ecetorism adventuresdown there as well, so no matter W wh you're going with youknow, don't matter who is going there to do it, but as long as they are, youknow supporting the cause in supporting anstanding tha, the way oflive of thisof the animals. You know in thast of exception that the locals will willlearning, will absort no com, you so W so um yeah. I really have this keepsgoing so far. I was saying so good very well. THAT'S ELL! That's great to hearEr ends, Youv Outlie, the conservation of the worlls. W what is it actuallylike to be onto with I'm thinking of a more amersive description of what it isactually like when y e, when you're going there, you teres a lot of time,spent trying to trankler and find them? Are you out in in the cold up in themountains? You are groly you're sitting on a hill with a scope looking for themwar. Can Our plients expect for worling Onatiity Firstlat is the birthtrae ofthe breathtaking habit of your Eind. You know you go to this an acing areas,completen te remote on riht in the middle of nowhere. You barely see ahuman, and sometimes you know we are. You know, sat in the top of thesebeautiful Hil scan for Wolsand, suddenly wile the wile of turnup, maybethe old Ho Goscol beyond colding, Eagle and then carry on you know watchingwall, sometimes we're lucky. You know we we hear them howling, we hear them.Oh, we see them really active all the youngsters playin each other. Sometimesthey're, not you know they wl have to come back and try it again. N Othertimebut, this just agret taking happytat you're, surrounded with pure,and sometimes he thinks at. Oh, my God am I in Europe. Yes, I'm in Europe, youknow so it's I think it' is it's a whole package of everything really, Sarah,not just the wolf themselves, that they are the main target that oter different,interesting, very interesting, wilelife habitats. You know, habitats and Umlittle villages. You know people ecause. We always have the Orat to take a cafeafter very buasy morning. Early morning youknow working hard for to see all this, this wondif animals and and and as Isaid, all that you know habited romananct churches. You know of thishistorical porprestor given iven features. Everything together is an amazingpackage that you get there and you at the end of the tour you you hearKlines saying. Oh, my God. I thought this was Gomng to be like these. Buthow do you think ething? No t put the wolls aside, they said apart or thewolfs I didn't even know. I was going to see and learn such a. You Know AngAman of new things, and this is worldhly experience in every singleover trips. No, so yeah Kekeep your eye on there. I would obset Youd love to join you onone of those trips. I think I've been watching wolves in yellowstone andbefore which is is fantastic, but to do it in Europe, um would be prettyspecial. I think close I and also's very challeging just to finish withthem. It's just is also very challenging because they are realwidewile. You know your your expoitations, your adrenamy. When yousee one when you see a group, it's amazing I mean, as I said, sometimes weare lucky to see them for hovering hours. Sometimes we just have a glimpseone crossing for Har in it, but this is what made them...

...amazing, how they move and also it'sit's a huge, huge, huge, huge result. After working so hard, you get to seegreat use of them, so I think isthat's th, the big rewart n andthe, jot paidoffloasotyou want to move slihy south right so syes it Selett le the mountains, athe picture where the walvs are completely different. An the picture ofthe next lovely animal was going to Talk Abou, the abering links and isvery different, and I think, is worth starting with this and make that maindifference is because the fact t of thegeing linxes are very well protected, changed completely dramatically thepanorama of the conservation towards this species. Now Um I, if we do somef my bering lings in numbers M,we have to think that you know towards the end of the nineteenth century orthe beginning of the twentiesth century. You know earlynineteen hundreds, the population of lynxs M, was quite spread from the Midland's plateau. You KnowFotulas ofsierras of this mountain change, local mountain change down tothe south. Now we have to consider him from many manyreasons: the population demice hugely because down towards the NEHouand, nine hundred and thirty five or even the nineteen forties. Thepopulation was relatively still healthy, but it was a massive shock from theFFIFTIS bonwards and Um. Yet one of the reasons because they were hunted atdtone, especially in Andylysea, but the main reason. I think the sole reasonwhy Averang lynxes declined so so to the edge of extinction. It was mainlybecause of their diet, rabbits and haven't said that the benef you know andemic species, sometimes youboth toyou, know a haviter and youll say well you're. The only one here Thay have nocompetitors and uh what's going on. Well, they that the problem with some some h native specieses that they can go sospecialized to specialize quite on something- and this is the case ofIberian linxes- they have specializedin rabbits and one starts suffering andgoing they go alongside and rabbits ah in thevery in peninsula.Well, theyre very well spread in ther inthefrom the foohes down to the plateaus and plans, but they struggle with many deceases. Next, an the toses youhave one y have rabies and Um that Radis came with overthe new secter back in the in the in the beginning of the year. Twothousands, where you know gain the population of of rabbits declinedmassively, so that left and inxes with no foot, and this is why the populationwas so geographical limitedown to the south, because that was the area. You know all Te, specifically all the westernSouth Westirngandula s as you were tacking by Doana and the mountains ofnort easternandelasia, completely completely wiped off from rabbits andas with the population started to suffer to the point that ther were downto eighty three individuals, like...

...thirty eight pairs reported and themain population was up in the mountains and the work that uh, the scientist and thethe local governments together and now. Whe Weu have done Ha Putthel theothete toton onthe veing lynses Gosh went from Gosh no I's not going to work to yes, he'sworking, you know, and but I took M, took him a while Yo took them a goodten years of fifteen years to see results. So it was a real long term. Umresult project but, as I said et was worth it and the very first thing, th Y,they targetd, wasn't really ebearing limins itself. As a species but but therabbit, the foot, the target that as a main strategy to to to bring healthyrabbits back to the wild, keep control in them, keep controlling populations.You know distributing populations of healthy rabbits in certain areas,checking new population of rabbits in searching other areas that linx is ofcort and that worked quite well and stillworking. I mean the efforts, woild, never stop and then obusy in order torein for the population of the linxes. They brought down some some of the spicies from themountains down to the lowlands, which is particularly Donyana, and they made this mixin in the reproductionprogram. They make this nexture between both e ones, the mountain linxes and theones inthe in the in the lowlandaering linses you know, and that sort ofexchange, because with this demising you know the the genetic value of theof the cat, Wul startin o get affected, and particularly in the population down inthe in the lowlands, they were not friving at all. They were really weakand they were for no reason just getting quite ill in developing. You know Um an problems to keep them going socombining the the fuccessor population of the mountains with the lowlands.They created this this mixed pattering as we call them, because the Patterinof Thei vearing links in the in the mountains is very thin spots, whereasthe one down in the lowlands are really thick. So now, sometimes yeah, you cansee an noviously, the ones in the mountains theyare the males speciallyare more mastly because they climb boulgers, they climg Um up hills. Youknow wherei's down in the lowlends, Ich USwalk around endering around deuns or or the hesses which are meadows withCorcos, you know or flat Um, so that mixture created a very, very goodgenetic value, oaded a very great year to value to the animals that they startdriving like crizig now the population. I think I I told Ou,O the day after the th, the European big cat documentary thesponge in DBC last winter. I think I was just monitoring up to fivehundreds of sort of the population in our days pet. They throw a number ofover seven hundred, which is great, and this Um it's it's ene is known so thatit's a great great house of the Specios is always going to be endangered. Don'tforget that and then Mkewhy Life Atcertat at acertain stant is always going to be endangered because they could declineovernight so for a big cat. Well, we consider tebering links within allthisis, quite small,...

...much much more than the ration of Oriallings Um, but we still consider a complex becauseof its complexity. Wee still consider W in a group of big cats, but for a catlike this two thriving in in learng environment was it was nearly you know,pushing them to the end of of life to to extinction. It's amazing! It'samazing, Andand Um! You know, thanks to the efforts of O of all this mings rescue programingnow with a life project as well whichs, injecting a load of resources in it.Now they had stopped now doing. RINTRODUCTIONS 'cause instroductionscost a lot of money Um, but I think once a population start iu know succeeding towards the levelthat a lot of the calculations, the numbers were where you know Um made before you know during theplanning of the of the project. I think introductions are a bit predundantinviewof. You say that now whethey're trying to do is is rain to use linxesin areas outside Anduvsia, where theyoccured before, but again they were starting from Zera, because that wasfive years ago. They started releasing rint using some individuals in CastellaMancha and extra Magora and Alsin some areas and some thinportuble, but as Isai in order to see results of how their population are going to thrive,we need to it's this question of time, scritching of time. So now we need tofocus in the population we have in Inand Vasa and the corridor is created between thelowll and population and the mountaing population. But that's still facing tot be thethreats on Pi Natop to you later on, but is there is there is done and m they they have doing. They have beendoing it. Quite well e been on quite well, and it's it's amazing to thinkthat this is gone from being an almost mythical species, one of the rarestcats in the world, an to being something that we can really and viabloperate a tor to go and see in infact Natu Trek with a first operator to sessup to us to go and see the Iberian link an and now were e position where we'reable to run these to Earth woth a good success rate of seeing them andbringing a valleyable incommuntity the local economy, an accommodationsrestaurants, cafes mand, as the public. How is the public perception of theLYNK and is it? Is it better than n the walls? Because there isn't that clashwith with farmers to people peoplre happy to have them am in their localarea? Yeah I mean, as I saidaoknon the fact of they beingprotected by the now changes everything, but not only that Um cats and there'sno exception of you- know: feelines no sexion, thebing links pittures minderon business. They just need they're Havy, tat, their foods and ofthe go. They don't really affect anybody, they don't compete with us,they actually like us, because they feel confident and safe around us. Infact, the Amountwhen, when we am Pioneer Iberian, torse and and by theway we are the only company who actually do both of the locations. Youknow Witheen the corridor ecause mainly some others just go to Sieramorena, butwe do both an doubting houses, are chances to seethem but also enhances the chances of I...

...you know for or or customers to tocomprehend, with two different habitants comprehendwhy the lynxes and the lowlands of wytelinxes ape in the mountains. UmHave you know, exchanged and how important is to to keep keep going,that exchange of genetic value, which suddenly stopped whenth with whe. Thepopulation was to the edge of extinction M. so, apart from that, it'sit's incredibly important to understand that and term oxleas is being a bigbenefit to the locals, and local hospitality, business and and andecuitorism in general, has benefited to to. It has brought all this. This Mbenefit from this activity, and what is it like being on t tourwith you? Looking for these like same Questiona, as I asked you with theWolls, is it Um? Is it quite challenging again? Yeah again, you know it's thegreaty great part, Aly say of joining thisetors. Is that nothing is written.Nothing is guaranteed. You know. Yes, we have a good rite of successful,fightings and everything, but even for me, which I've seen founces ofwolves faunsons of lynxes. Even for me, that's like your first time. You knowyou go. There is a challenge. Sat you don't know. What's Happenin ECAUSE, youknow it's never the same. Never the same! You learn every time you go there. How did they behave? How did they turnout? Where are they going to turn out? How they're going to turn up and whatsort of chances are they going to give us to see them? Now? You know again. You kicked ot to that sort of Fr Burg that theelectrifying Bu. You know a round group around the fellow travels saying Gosh,W wel have to do it we'll do it. Let's keep doing sometimes I's tedious. Youknow keep looking and looking and looking, but you never get boredbecause there's some again completely different habitats, only for beautiful picturosse habitatsand landscapes and and inother wielife. You Know Beautiful Wile Ofw when we aredown there n in the autumn. You know W we always cutch up with with winteringmigratory speches, the ones they're living the ones who are actuallyarriving to spend the winter down there and then up in the mountains. You knowthe complete different perspective of of habited different animals, moreindentic, Spanish Ibex, for example, plenty, four vibarian Makpis, morepanse sponse in pure leagles, scenaries, vulture scoshe. I mean the list goesand goes and goes an and seein places like Donana and the contrast later on,the TRIPAND WE AV in the mauntains. It's just my blowing well, and you musthave many examples, but do you have one particular memory of watching and ideithinks tat really stands out for you was it the first time you saw Ooi? Hasit been in the several years t a you've been guiding there well t be on sack aven recall the first one. I saw how the circumstances away, because you get soexcited tha that just instead of keeping that memory someon,I just goes by e back of your Su conciens. I don't know it's just lostin my brain, but I do have treasure in my you know my mind. A lot of theciting specially the once I wuld say the ones thatasthlly is not just a simple animal walking out of a bushion, but thatinteraction when you ere about to- and...

I remember once we were- you- know-working really hard wrady hartand Weronthe. Last ten minutes of the trapout theres about to get dark and you're there with people, you don't want tolet hem down and suddenly, when we are back to puck up and go hand twhen. Iwas about to say I'm sorry gieating Werin his time. Suddenly somethingmovement was caught by the corner of my eye andthere was this young male going out after a rabbit, but he was competingwith another man that happened to be after the same rabbit, so that gave usan amazing show, was quite memoral actually and and just just ten minutes we were about togive up well II, could recall that one as asone of the Bestbas, I said, every time we're going one of the one of the main sins of thespecies doing well is because, every every year after year after season, aafter season, we um seen them more and more and more llwehear them more and more and more and Um. As I said, there's nothing, nothing isguarantee in widelife might be the oblication. We have goneempty handed, but we know they there. We know that the chances we have in ourknowledge gon a limit and then Isall down to them from then Um, but Um. Every time you know we go, we we learnmore about these animals and that's important in order to increase thechances to see them. But this we have a fantastic rate and these animals reallysaid are protected. So presumably they don't face a huge pressure from beingshort or persecuted by people or what are their greatest threats. Then? Whatis there number one and mortality rate botality you cause, I think, andisia being andoveseare.Quite u populated area despite they have vast vast amount of Fr ofmountains and mountain races and Sira Morena being win very inspetable, veryremote, which Um really, which is some points,ofseerin a really hard to access. I think that the the threats that giring Linx's facenowadays ar the foot their life depends of howrabbits do so part of the the conservation program do focus a lot onkeeping rabbit population healthy and alsomaking endless research on many individuals. You know if they foundthebt indivbeduals. They justuh try to to to look at the course of that.If, as natural t was natural but um a rabbit, just don't die just just F forheart attack in the middle of of nowhere theretees, something behind. Sothe the working ready really well to tackle this in order to improve th theamount of source of food of the links I mean links. Can they have all thethings in the menu like Redlic passrage, for example, there'll? Be Another realor J, you no any other big birds, but they're remembere. They are. They arespecialized on rabbits ND and t that made them lazy. Some some species arein danger because they are either a bit silly or stupid or becausethey said I just Leep Thesse, I'm sorry and just crose her arms and do nothinga lot specios and then pecies. I like T A, I believe you or not, um in terms ofbirds. I remember when I was doing a lot of reason for the red, Blu Detadangerou species, ekty percent of the...

...species, the birds in that book werewere endangerd because they were stupid. You know they n. They did tem pursuethem different food, a no my fot as I specialize in days and if there'snothing there in my plate, I'm sorry I'm not not going to Worr for Oltherfoot, but in the case of lines you know they do they do the pens they do dependa lot in. You know on on their main source offood, which is rabted now and that's what I said it its been keeping upquite well. So the species are are arefrighten in that respect, but theyalways keep an Neyon that. I think that the very sad couse which is realiitynown, is cossing. A lot of the vamage to the population is road kills. I remember I was quite shock in twothousand D nd and seventeen when the GOA reported seventeen to eighteen,Iberian, lings, killed and Grods, and this is only because a lot of theterritories- you know cats, move a lot and especially young males could bereally manacing just to move around a lot without keeping u one virtual territory too, tomeandering- and these are the ones to you- know, they're, not real. As I said,H, very confident, cats, H, they're likely to be t they see. Human being isfriends because theyre, not an the threat at all M, and that put them inbeing that confidence is also I is, I is, is a double edged Sord, you know just go to areas, they hear a car andthey don't take any precautions across the road and bank and the AL A buildingunderpassers to go under these highways. That he's not really working well th. There are a lot of passagesand tunnels and and Wi life crossings. You know, but notin, every single, careas and andthis this is the th. I think that one of the sadest thing infrustrating things for the for the conservationist or people work in thein the Lino Conservation Program is that those animals killed in thoseareas. They were found their bodies, but you know, and their animals in ewering known because they're wering monitored, is really hard to monitor all that vastarea. But the good thing is Um. After that happened, they have takendifferent measurements and they have built tunnels or crossing pats in those areaswhere they had blocked the access to those roads, better so th that that obliged thorforce th the Linxis to movealong and cross using the the Tunne. So a lot of improvements have been done in that sat of firm in that sortof respect. But you know, as I said before- and teny animals were alwaysgoing to be in danger, um because of thatr facts. They earn. You knowthey're endangered Um, because they're endemics, burt being a Andamagu, comes down to aprice, and- and this is this- is you know, keeping your right food up,keeping your territory up and OB iousy the rest com from us as humans to heldthem out to thrive, and just if you can answer in one or two sentences of each?What do you think the future is for the Linx and the Walls Inc, the in Um? I think it's, it's very positive. Ithink it's very positive again with a lod of heacups and this HAP of kiccupsdon't really come to thr. You know threat that hey could find in the wildbut could come believe you are not from the administration. You Know CountyCouncil distribution, the money...

...distributing certain laws and certainpenalties poaching still a problem not as much as in the north. We iberyanlinks ageering wolfs, but poaching is always going to be a problem in Spain,so Um. But, as I said it's it's, the SAPERONAevironment of polices is doing a great job, working really hard Ein, inorden toprotect them being tough with rules and everything, but I think there's more positives than negatives,so I think the the population, as we have seen in these last fifteen years,have been moving operating M or tours down there. You know just giving example th therate when we were we started doing these. It was so hard to see one. Now Iwouldn't say it he's easy still hard, but you can see that there are morenumbers, the numbers having praisit, that their habital has improved. U and H, you know everything has changedfor her or Havim proved and he's still improving dramatically dramatically.Well, that's very good here and, and we wes looking forward to resumingour our tours. There went as soon as we can and and just to finish, Piron justto take a step back from the wolfs and the Lynx, and look at Spain as a haland the public perception on wildlife. There and H. Do you feel like it'schanged since your involvements of leading to us there in Spain of thelast fifteen years? Have we we seeing a phasing out of a bullfightinggeneration and is e potential for a new wave of passionate yornaturalists thatar growing in Spain it has changed yeah, it has binin thelast fifteen years, um we've been operating thes tours. We have changed alot, I wouldn't say well bull, fighting,it's more a cultural thing that actually yea new generations arestopping by the TAT. That's Goin to keep going. But if it's, if, if youcompare Withbil fighting planstroom twenty years ago to now yea more thanhalf have gone M, but it' mainly the hunting Beit Hunting,I would say it'. I could be what have changed a lot. A lot of thethe hunters general new generations m respect more dis, and then you can threat. Animals like linxes um in theirmentality have been more educated in thisone of me. A lot of the threats interms coming Fr from the locals Malio Om population. It's because ofignorance that when you educate them more they're they're considered morethat facts and they they seem tit's, not just the fact of going there inhunting make a big big, Um brole hunting in the field where Andendangeranymal I in live. Now I think yes, the percepsion F of peoples, Sene diys,have changed a lot, their less hunter of Officienados. Less! U B fighting of Eao! I mean a lot of the.I remember when we used to go to these areas. You know there was nobody therewho was literally us now, it's just it's just a lot of people. You know, Ithink I count. Eighty people as tem were there to Stan in this road she'strying to take Lov lince so yeat. He has changed a lot, a lot nd and isgoing to continue with her. Well, that's greater here and more maitcontinue to to go in the whiht direction like that and have morepeople involved in wildlife, wor iabsolutely fantastic to talk to you.I've really enjoyed sitting here.

Listening to you telling us all aboutthe andymic Iberian Wolf in Lik. I certainly know where's on my myHitlestfr as soon as I can get out out of the UKN and go traveling again. It'shard o Ti, O Jo Yo Pote Hao Tim in time, great well thinksfavris or speaking to as yer. Thank you and thanks for your taen could I couldcarry young ages here chatting about it, but thank you very much for yourinterest and I hope these orer people and O or followers Ha have found thesevery interesting as well to join Baron ONATEU. You can see hisupcoming trips on his profile on our website, along with more podcasts fromAtto leaders, for you to listen to the links to which Oue displayed on yourscreen. Now, thanks for listening.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (6)