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The main objective of this coordinated project is to evaluate transhumance as an adaptive management model for global change that includes the movement (human, animal and landscape) as a paradigm. On the one hand, we will use vultures as functional indicators of the movement of farmers, livestock and their herds and the ecosystem services they provide. On the other hand, we will evaluate the sustainability of this socio-ecosystem movement in the face of the socio-economic challenges of global change that determine mobility. Finally, we will use historical series of climate and ecosystem productivity based on satellite image data to evaluate pasture production and the carrying capacity of the socioecosystem in a context of climate change that can mark the movements in the future landscapes of our pastures.
Since 1998 we monitor the relict Egyptian vulture population living in the Eastern Canary islands (Fuerteventura and Lanzarote). This is a multidisciplinary project integrating research lines in demography, behavioural ecology, toxicology and genetics. Relying on continuous ringing, 90% of the population is now individually identified. In the short and medium future, our main interest is aimed to the movement ecology and to deep into individual foraging strategies for which 47 birds have been marked with GPS radiotransmitters. Thanks to the close relationship with local authorities evidence-based conservation measures are applied within adaptive management schemes. As a result, this endemic subspecies once reduced to only 20 breeding territories is currently expanding. More information: https://canarianegyptianvulture.com/
Aircraft collisions with wildlife are a relatively common phenomenon. The griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) is one of the species at higher risk in Spain. Important densities of griffons are found in the mountain ranges of northern and western Pyrenees and the high Ebro valley. An aircraft military firing range occupies 2,200 ha in the centre of the Bardena Reales Natural Park (Northern Spain). The air exercises involve aircraft flying at different heights on colonies of griffon vulture and broad areas of extensive and intensive livestock farming where vultures and other scavengers feed daily. As a consequence of this bird strikes have occurred. In view of the problem it is advisable to initiate studies aimed at understanding the dynamics of use of space for griffon vultures in this region. The solutions pass to generate knowledge in order to facilitate decision-making on issues such as the manipulation of habitat quality (food resources in critical areas) and optimizing flight routes and strategies of the aircraft in relation to patterns of displacement of birds. The specific objectives would be therefore to: a) Establish spatio-temporal routines of adult breeding griffon vultures in the region; b) Determine to what extent the management of livestock carcasses conditions such movements; c) Identify the factors favouring the overlap of flying activity of vultures and military aircraft exercises; d) Establish proposals to minimize the risk of collisions between vultures and military aircraft and to optimize the management of livestock carcasses for vulture conservation. With this aim a total of 30 adult griffon vultures were tagged during the winter 2015/2016 with GPS/GSM transmitters in Bardenas Reales NP. Until June 2016 these birds have deployed more than 400,000 GPS locations and 1.5 million accelerometer data.