The National Park at SECEM XIV Congress

  • 13 December 2019 |
  • Written by  Fernando Horcajada y Santiago Martín

From the 5th to the 8th of December 2019 different groups of professionals, whose job or work activity is related to wild mammals, have met in Jaca (Huesca), to celebrate the ‘Spanish Society for Conservation and Study of Mammals’ Congress’ 14th edition, organized in collaboration with Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología-CSIC, whose main objective is promoting knowledge and interest in mammals through research studies and conservation actions.

On the first day, the Opening Lecture was given by PhD Ricardo García-González from the Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología talking about “The bucardo and the mountain goat in the Pyrenees: history, extinction, phylogeny and re-introductions” during which, apart from discussing the circumstances surrounding the bucardo’s extinction, interesting doubts related to the origin and phylogeography of the different subspecies were outlined, as well as the scientific and ethic base on introductions; all of which affects Guadarrama’s populations directly.

078 01 barja secem‘Sierra de Guadarrama’ Research Centre has taken part in this event by presenting three communications related to the main achievements and results obtained from three studies conducted at Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, in collaboration with different Research Centres and Institutions, on three emblematic species: Iberian desman or Pyrenean desman, Spanish ibex and wolf.

Conservation actions for the Pyrenean desman at Sierra de Guadarrama National Park were presented on poster, showing the studies carried out for the conservation of this elusive micromammal. Although currently its presence along the rivers and streams of the Sierra de Guadarrama has not been confirmed, despite being abundant in the past, the National Park is making an effort to recover the species.

The evolution of the Spanish ibex population at the National Park, its predicament and management was the second communication presented, on poster, at the Congress. The objective was to show the problems currently affecting the population. The population, introduced in the nineties, faces an alarming situation due to an uncontrolled increase in density, causing growing conflicts between the species and its habitat, as well as with the Park’s conservationist principles.

The third study was an oral communication given by Professor Isabel Barja, introducing the first data about the wolf’s diet inside the National Park as well as the existing relationship among diet, wild ungulates and cattle. PhD Isabel Barja is a researcher of the Autónoma University (Zoology Unit -Biology Department). The collaboration between the National Park and the University seeks the implementation of a wolf conservation strategy in the long term, in which the coexistence of the species with livestock and especially with wild ungulates will be assessed.

There is no doubt we are living a historic moment on iberian mammals’ conservation with new scenarios arising due to global change (climate change, fields abandonment, infraestructure’s expansion and irruption of invasive species…); scenarios that pose a challenge to us, researchers and managers involved in the study and management of these emblematic group of species.

Fernando Horcajada y Santiago Martín

‘Sierra de Guadarrama’ Research Centre

[Translated by Aurora de la Rosa]

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