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Game Reserves in Spain: the public management of hunting

  • University of Zaragoza, Huesca

Abstract and Figures

In Spain, Game Reserves (GR) are territorial public hunting management units that cover 3.5% of the country and similar to 10% of the Natura 2000 Network. The first GR were established in 1966 and by 2011 there were 49. Their primary purposes were to promote wild ungulate populations, their sustainable use, and to provide social, economic, and recreational benefits to local communities and hunters, generally. During the 1980s following a political federalization process, GR became the responsibility of regional governments and their role has never been evaluated, even though the political, rural ecological, and administrative frameworks underwent substantial changes. In this paper, we present a review of the state of GR in 2011, identify their successes and problems, and provide recommendations for the future. The GR have been fundamental to sustainable hunting and the protection of wildlife, particularly, game species. Currently, their virtues are not widely appreciated and they do not receive sufficient financial and human resources to meet their objective fully. We propose several initiatives that might improve the use of existing resources and increase the profile of these publicly managed areas.
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Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA)
Available online at
Forest Systems 2012 21(3), 398-404
ISSN: 2171-5068
eISSN: 2171-9845
Game Reserves in Spain: the public management of hunting
M. Pita Fernández1, S. Casas Bargueño1, J. Herrero2, *, C. Prada1 and R. García Post3
1 Ega Consultores en Vida Silvestre SLPU. Sierra de Vicort 31 1ºA. E-50003 Zaragoza, Spain
2 Área de Ecología. Departamento de Ciencias Agrarias y del Medio Natural. Escuela Politécnica Superior de Huesca.
Universidad de Zaragoza. E-22071 Huesca, Spain
3 Conselleria de Infraestructuras, Territorio y Medio Ambiente. Servicio de Caza y Pesca Continental.
Francisco Cubells, 7. E-46011 Valencia, Spain
In Spain, Game Reserves (GR) are territorial public hunting management units that cover 3.5% of the country and ~ 10%
of the Natura 2000 Network. The first GR were established in 1966 and by 2011 there were 49. Their primary purposes
were to promote wild ungulate populations, their sustainable use, and to provide social, economic, and recreational benefits
to local communities and hunters, generally. During the 1980s following a political federalization process, GR became the
responsibility of regional governments and their role has never been evaluated, even though the political, rural ecological,
and administrative frameworks underwent substantial changes. In this paper, we present a review of the state of GR in 2011,
identify their successes and problems, and provide recommendations for the future. The GR have been fundamental to
sustainable hunting and the protection of wildlife, particularly, game species. Currently, their virtues are not widely ap-
preciated and they do not receive sufficient financial and human resources to meet their objective fully. We propose sev-
eral initiatives that might improve the use of existing resources and increase the profile of these publicly managed areas.
Key words: wild ungulates; Natural Protected Areas; Natura 2000 Network; sustainable hunting.
Reservas de Caza en España: la gestión pública de la caza
Las Reservas de Caza (RC) constituyen una figura de gestión cinegética pública del territorio en España. Abarcan el
3.5% del territorio y ocupan aproximadamente el 10% de la Red Natura 2000. Su declaración comenzó en 1966, y desde
entonces no ha cesado, llegando en la actualidad a las 49 RC. Fueron creadas esencialmente para la promoción de las
poblaciones de ungulados silvestres, el aprovechamiento ordenado de este recurso y la satisfacción social, económica y
recreativa de las comunidades locales y de los cazadores en general. Quedaron fuera de la tutela del estado tras su des-
centralización a partir de principios de los años ochenta del pasado siglo, y su función en conjunto no ha sido nunca
evaluada, al tiempo que el panorama político, rural, ecológico y administrativo ha sufrido profundos cambios. Este ar tículo
pretende ofrecer una panorámica actualizada de la situación de las RC a principios del siglo XXI, evaluar sus logros y
problemática actual, así como proponer algunas actuaciones para el futuro inmediato. Las RC han sido pioneras en el
aprovechamiento sostenible de la caza y de gran utilidad para la protección de la fauna en general y las especies cinegé-
ticas en concreto. Actualmente no gozan del reconocimiento popular, y no reciben los recursos necesarios económicos y
humanos suficientes para seguir cumpliendo su función adecuadamente. Se proponen una serie de medidas para aprove-
char mejor los recursos disponibles y poder dar a conocer a la sociedad el valor de estos terrenos de gestión pública.
Palabras clave: ungulados silvestres; Áreas Naturales Protegidas; Red Natura; caza sostenible.
* Corresponding author:
Received: 31-10-11. Accepted: 09-10-12.
In general, populations of wild ungulates in Europe
have recovered during last decades (Apollonio et al.,
2010). With some exceptions (e.g., García-González
and Herrero, 1999), the populations of the vast major-
ity of species have increased in number and range
(Gortázar et al., 2000), primarily, because of socioeco-
nomic changes associated with the abandonment of
rural areas, increases in the tertiary economic sector
and agricultural mechanization. Consequently, forests
have increased, naturally and articially, and environ-
Game Reserves in Spain
improvement. In all but two of the GR in Spain, big
game hunting is the primary objective. The other two
were designated for the promotion of waterfowl and,
therefore, we evaluated those, separately.
The cartography of the GR was derived using a GIS
and the original maps of each GR.
Questionnaires were sent to the managers of each of
the GR (n = 49) and 40 (82%) replied; however not all
of the questions on all of the forms were answered.
The declarations
Following state Law 37/66, the rst GR was estab-
lished in 1966. In 1973, Law 2/73 brought about the
establishment of additional GR. Since the 1980s, and
following the federalization process, a third period of
establishment occurred (Table 1).
Area covered by GR in Spain
By 2011, GR covered 3.5% of Spain (Table 1).
Among 45 GR (92%), 53% have increased and 31%
have decreased in size. Four % municipalities contain
GR, with some regions reaching up to 31% (Cantabria),
25% (Asturias) and 15% (La Rioja) (Fig. 1).
Human resources and budget
Among the personnel (n = 399) at the GR (n = 40),
63% worked full-time and 37% worked part-time, and,
on average, there were 3.6 employees /10,000 ha–1. The
general trend has been for the change from hunting
rangers to non-specialized ones. Seventeen of 37
(75.5%) GR did not have a specic budget, and of those
that did have one the average represented 4.4 € ha–1.
Protected Areas and management
of neighboring areas
Forty-eight of the 49 GR, at least partially, lie
within a Protected Area (PA). Some of the PAs have
been completely (Sierra Nevada and Daimiel), par-
mental conditions for those species have improved. In
Spain, however, at the beginning of the 1960s there
was a massive rural exodus from the country to the
large industrial areas, and some territories that pro-
vided exceptional conditions for supporting game hunt-
ing were declared public hunting grounds; i.e., Game
Reserves (GR), which were managed by the state gov-
ernment (Ortuño and de la Peña, 1976). They were
designed to promote game hunting, control poaching,
provide economic benets to local communities, pro-
mote hunting tourism, and aid the recovery of wildlife
populations, which has been successful in sub-Saharan
Africa (Lindsey, 2007). Despite the importance of hunt-
ing in Spain, one of the countries with a higher hunting
demand worldwide (Hofer, 2002), however, the impor-
tance of GR in nature conservation and the sustainable
use of natural resources has not been thoroughly
This paper provides a review of GR in Spain, iden-
ties their achievements, and proposes actions for their
success in the future.
Materials and methods
In April, 2011, the rst meeting on GR was held in
Cofrentes, Valencia, (Spain), which provided a gen-
eral overview of their state and allowed us to make
direct contact with most of the technicians associated
with the country’s GR. They provided information
about specic aspects of the GR including the date
when they were established, size, legislation, admin-
istrative data, natural attributes, and management
practices. Thereafter, we executed the rst phase of the
Project Cycle Management and Logical Framework
(European Commission-Europe Aid, 2001), which is
used in the design of environmental projects (Atauri
and Gómez-Limón, 2002). We developed a problem
tree based on the hierarchical organization of the cause-
effect relationships among the various problems faced
by each of the GR (Fig. 2), which formed the basis of
an objective tree, that included operational objectives,
intermediate results, and general objectives. In turn,
we created a plan in which choosing the correct meas-
ures identies the correct operational objectives, which
lead to intermediate results before achieving the ulti-
mate management objectives as identied by the initial
problem analysis (Fig. 3). That approach permits an
evaluation of the state of the GR and provides a basis
for the development of appropriate strategies for their
M. Pita Fernández et al. / Forest Systems (2012) 21(3), 398-404
tially (Viñamala), or simultaneously (Picos de Europa)
converted into National Parks. Some of the GR overlap
other PAs, particularly Nature Parks, Sites of Com-
munity Importance, and Special Protection Areas (all
of which form the Natura 2000 Network), Biosphere
Reserves, and Ramsar Sites. GR cover ~10% of the
terrestrial Natura 2000 Network, and 77% of the area
of the GR lies within the Natura 2000. There are ex-
tensive territories of neighboring or almost neighboring
GR management (Fig. 1 and Table 1) such as the Can-
tabrian Mountains (590,287 ha), the Pyrenees (344,774
ha), the Sierra de la Demanda, Urbión, and Demanda
Cameros (297,996 ha), Sonsaz (68,461 ha), and Els
Ports de Tortosa-Beseit (28,741.25 ha).
The ecosystems within the GR have been included
in important networks, particularly, Natura 2000, that
was created to protect nature. Comparatively to pro-
tected areas National Parks, the later occupy 0.8% of
the country; 11.8% is part of PA areas sensu lato, and
7.8% are Nature Parks (Europarc-Spain, 2010), while
GR are 3.5%.
Game species
All of the large game species in Spain are hunted:
wild boar Sus scrofa, red deer Cervus elaphus, roe deer
Capreolus capreolus, fallow deer Dama dama, Iberian
Game Reserve Year
Andalusia 127,515
1 Cazorla-Segura 2003 65,057
2 Cortes de la Frontera 1973 12,306
3 Serranía de Ronda 1970 29,754
4 Sierra de Tejeda y Almijara 1973 20,398
Aragon 191,653
5 Benasque 1966 23,913
6 Els Ports de Tortosa - Beseit* 1966 1,529
7 Garcipollera 1994 5,742
8 Los Circos 1966 25,294
9 Los Valles 1966 36,354
10 Masías de Ejulve - Maestrazgo 2007 3,980
11 Montes Universales 1973 49,778
12 Viñamala 1966 45,062
Asturias 214,404
13 Aller 1989 22,352
13 Cangas de Narcea 1991 10,581
14 Caso 1989 30,794
16 Degaña 1966 8,716
17 Ibias 1991 8,225
18 Picos de Europa 1970 3,865
19 Piloña 1989 5,491
20 Ponga 1989 20,953
21 Sobrescobio 2001 6,792
22 Somiedo 1966 88,335
23 Sueve 1966 8,300
Cantabria 180,186
24 Saja 1966 180,186
Castile - La Mancha 63,860
25 Serranía de Cuenca 1973 6,675
26 Sonsaz 1973 57,185
Castile and Leon 546,014
27 Ancares Leoneses 1973 36,342
Game Reserve Year
28 Fuentes Carrionas 1966 49,471
29 Lagunas de Villafála 1986 32,675
30 Las Batuecas 1973 21,513
31 Mampodre 1966 31,400
32 Riaño 1966 78,995
33 Sierra de la Culebra 1973 67,340
34 Sierra de la Demanda 1973 75,167
35 Sierra de Gredos 1970 37,216
36 Sierra de Urbión 1973 115,895
Catalonia 232,225
37 Alt Pallars-Aran 1966 106,661
38 Boumort 1991 13,097
39 Cadí 1966 49,448
40 Cerdanya-Alt Urgell 1966 19,003
6 Els Ports de Tortosa-Beseit* 1966 22,908
41 Encanyissada 1986 908
42 Freser-Setcases 1966 20,200
Extremadura 37,253
43 Cíjara 1966 24,243
44 La Sierra 2001 13,010
Galicia 7,792
45 Os Ancares 1966 7,792
La Rioja 106,934
46 Cameros-Demanda 1973 106,934
Madrid 11,276
47 Sonsaz 1973 11,276
Murcia 14,183
48 Sierra Espuña 1973 14,183
Valencia 40,313
49 Muela de Cortes 1973 36,009
6 Els Ports de Tortosa-Beseit* 1966 4,304
Total 1,773,608
Table 1. Game Reserves and regions in Spain in 2011
*: Els Ports de Tortosa-Beseit GR lies within Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia.
Game Reserves in Spain
wild goat Capra pyrenaica hispanica and Capra
pyrenaica victoriae, Cantabrian chamois Rupicapra
pyrenaica parva and Pyrenean chamois Rupicapra
p. pyrenaica, aoudad Ammotragus lervia, mouon Ovis
aries, and wolf Canis lupus signatus. Small game spe-
cies include rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus, red partridge
Alectoris rufa, grey partridge Perdix perdix, red fox
Vulpes vulpes, woodcock Scolopax rusticola, and hare
(Iberian hare Lepus granatensis and European hare
L.europaeus). In the GR (n = 39), the most commonly
hunted species were wild boar (97%), roe deer (69%),
red deer (61%), chamois (59%), fallow deer (41%),
Iberian wild goat (31%), mouon (13%), and aoudad
(2%). As many as six large game species and small
game species are hunted in a single GR. In some GR,
only a single large game species is hunted, and the
average is 3.3 large game species. Considering the
original species that motivated the declaration of every
single GR, in almost all of the GR, the number of spe-
cies of wild ungulates has increased.
Population monitoring and hunting quota
In most (82%, n = 40) of the GR, the populations of
wild ungulates are monitored, primarily, using total
counts and, to a lesser extent, the kilometric abundance
index, distance sampling, and hunting battues. Some
~18% of the GR monitor the populations of small game
species. In addition, some of the GR monitor endan-
gered species such as bearded vultures Gypaetus bar-
batus, brown bear Ursus arctos, and capercaillie Tetrao
urogallus. Large game hunting quota accomplishment
(n = 25 GR) is 78%, with 90% of red deer and 56% for
roe deer. Currently, there is not hunting quota for wild
Large game hunting methods
Within the GR (n = 39, 81.2%), the most common
hunting methods are, in order of importance: battues,
still hunting, and waiting. Battues are most commonly
used to hunt wild boar and are not used to hunt aoudad
and chamois, which are pursued using a still hunt. Ibe-
rian wild goat and wild boar are hunted using a waiting
method. In the vast majority (80%) of the GR, hunting
plans are used.
Damage compensation and poaching
In 2009, damages totaling 185,063 € were reported
(n = 20, 41%), which affected 12 GR. Damages occurred
in all of the GR and most of these were to agriculture.
In some GR, compensation is paid for losses caused by
wolf predation on livestock and, in some cases, com-
pensation is made for losses caused by collisions with
automobiles. In the GR (n = 38), poaching is viewed as
a moderate (73%), major (18%), or minor (9%) problem.
39 42
10 41
45 27
17 16
14 22 13 15
21 1920
18 24
31 32 28
33 29
Castile-La Mancha
Castile and Leon
Asturias Cantabria
La Rioja
Balearic Islands
Country Navarre
Figure 1. Location of Game Reserves in Spain in 2011.
M. Pita Fernández et al. / Forest Systems (2012) 21(3), 398-404
Figure 2. GR problems. Non-continuous lines indicate external conditioning.
Lack of a proper
management model
Lose of
Epizootic threat
Economic resources
Limited technical
Limited development
of monitoring
Lack of coordinated and
diversified management
between GR
Limited territorial
(coordination GR – PA)
Management based on limited
information focused on trophy hunting
sex ratio Ungulate
Social regection
of hunt
Difficult access
to information
Conflicts with
human activities
No predators
Historical interest
for trophy hunt
Management Comunication
Social and economic
Lose of identity
and functioning
Figure 3. Management objectives for GR in Spain.
Proper management model
General objectivesIntermediate resultsOperational objectives
Achieve ecological
Reduce epizootic
Economic resources
resources for
technical tools
resources for
Establish strategies
for coordinated and
diversified management
between GR
Increase territorial
GR – PA)
Establish management measures
based on accurate information and
focus on territory management
sex-ratio Stabilize ungulate
Archieve society’s
acceptance of
Facilitate access
to information
Reduce conflicts with
human activities
Lack of predators
Historical interess
in trophy hunt
Management Comunication
Achieve social and
economical sustainibility
Recover identity
and function
Game Reserves in Spain
Capacity building, assistance, divulgation,
and participation
In 85% of the GR (n = 39), the personnel training
and in general capacity building through different
courses (n = 39, 80%) is undertaken (e.g., biology of
game and endangered species, new technologies, ani-
mal health). In 83% of the GR (n = 33), management
received technical assistance from consultancy con-
tracts (51%), public enterprises (42%), or both.
The work done in the GR (n = 25, 51%) has been
disseminated through popular publications (16%) and,
primarily, a combination of divulgation with reports
and scientic publications (68%). Public participation
in the management decisions at the GR (n = 36) in-
cludes advisory boards, through which all of the inter-
est groups are represented (hunters, farmers, landown-
ers, regions, and municipalities) (57%).
Logical Framework
The survey detected 23 problems, two of which were
external to GR management (rural abandonment and lack
of predators), and three that were of a general nature
(ecological, socioeconomic unsustainability, loss of
identity and function), The main problems that affected
the daily management of the GR included the lack of
human and material resources, poaching, limited public
understanding of the existence and role played by GR,
and compensation for damage caused by game species.
Other problems included the risk of epidemics, the de-
terioration of ecosystems, and persistent conicts be-
tween the objectives of the GR and human activities. In
addition, the lack of understanding by the human popu-
lation has led to a social rejection that causes their loss
of identity and role in society (Fig. 2 and 3).
The high proportion of questionnaires that were
returned by the GR provided a sound basis upon which
to assess the status of the GR in Spain. The establish-
ment of the GR, which was inspired by the need for
nature conservation and the wise use of natural re-
sources, has represented an important reference in the
management of forests, game hunting, and biodiver-
sity. In that regard, the GR continue to play an impor-
tant role, but unfortunately, this is not well known in
Spain or elsewhere. Most of the wildlife populations
that were targeted for recovery have recovered and,
some have expanded their range (Gortázar et al.. 2000).
The GR have bodies that represent pioneering expe-
riences in human participatory processes level in ter-
ritorial management and an important example for
protected areas. In addition, they monitor wildlife
populations and develop hunting plans, which provide
the basis for the management of game species. Some
GR and hunted protected areas have provided important
long-term data series (García-González et al., 2004;
Marco et al., 2011) and valuable research on the effect
of hunting on wildlife populations (Milner et al., 2006;
Coltman et al., 2003; Rughetti and Festa-Bianchet,
2011). Furthermore, the GR have provided benets to
landowners (Domínguez et al., 2011) as in other simi-
lar territories (Harris and Pletscher, 2002), and rela-
tively inexpensive access to hunt.
In most cases, the overlap between PA and GR has
not led to the elimination of GR and, usually, the design
of the PA has followed or taken into consideration of
the existing GR, which had led to a certain degree of
coordinated management.
The main problems that affect the GR are the lack
of human and material resources, poaching, limited
public understanding of the existence and role played
by GR (i.e., their visibility), and compensation for dam-
age caused by game species, which is one of the main
emerging problems in the management of populations
of wild ungulates in Europe (Apollonio et al., 2010). In
the GR in Spain, the non-accomplishment of hunting
quotas illustrates the difculties in insuring that these
quotas are met and the need for specialized personnel to
enforce them. Today, the original objective of promoting
hunting must be balanced against the need to constrain
it, which is a significant issue elsewhere in Europe
(Apollonio et al., 2010; Putman and Moore, 1998).
The dissemination of the work done in GR is not
sufcient to inform the public of the importance of GR;
therefore, it should be increased following, for instance,
the example of Protected Areas, which in Spain receive
at least 26 million € per year (Europarc-E, 2010).
The complexities of managing GR, the need for ac-
curate information on the abundance and population
trends of game species, and a shortage of permanent staff
in the GR are the main reasons why enterprises and
consultancies are called on to participate in the monitor-
ing of wildlife populations. This information is crucial
for management and represents the main technical and
scientic information developed by GR. Some socioeco-
M. Pita Fernández et al. / Forest Systems (2012) 21(3), 398-404
nomic information is produced (Domínguez et al., 2011),
even if this aspect is relatively new, in spite of its im-
portance together with biological data for a correct
management (Gordon et al., 2004).
The main original objective of the GR, to promote
populations of game species, has been accomplished. In
the last decade, new objectives have had to be developed
from within a different political, socioeconomic, and
natural context. GR represent important economic invest-
ments for the regions and if they are retained, they
should have the objectives and resources that are consist-
ent with contemporary views of nature conservation and
the sustainable use of natural resources. An appropriate
framework might be an Action Plan for GR that aims to
achieve ecological, economic, and social sustainability
within the context of ecosystem services (Balvanera
et al., 2006; Costanza et al., 1987).
This paper was the result of two projects by MP and
SC as part of their Specialist in Protected Areas M.Sc. of
the Inter-university Foundation González Bernáldez in
collaboration with Europarc-Spain. We thank all of the
technicians of the GR who completed and returned
the questionnaire.
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... In the twenty-first century, research focused on habitat use (Santos et al. 2004;Fernández-Llario 2005;Rosell et al. 2006Rosell et al. , 2010Rosell et al. , 2012bBueno 2011), reproduction and demography (Fernández-Llario and Mateos-Quesada 2003; Uzal and Nores 2004;Herrero et al. 2008;Fonseca et al. 2004bFonseca et al. , 2011, population management (Fonseca 2006), genetics (Ferreira et al. 2009;Pérez-González et al. 2014), diet (Giménez-Anaya et al. 2008), range expansion (Santos et al. 2004;González et al. 2013), and long-term population monitoring in protected areas (PA) and game reserves Herrero et al. 2008, Pita 2012. Moreover, the first analysis on the evolution of hunted wild boars and hunters in Europe, including Portugal and Spain, was done (Massei et al. 2015). ...
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Wild boar is an important species throughout the Iberian Peninsula, and populations exist from sea level to elevations of >2000 m in high mountain environments, which reflects its incredible ability to adapt to a wide range of natural and cultural environments. To summarize the scientific and management knowledge on this species in Portugal and Spain, we reviewed 174 published and unpublished texts written since 1914. Research has progressed from descriptive studies toward applied ecology, which has focused on the problem that species poses to its environment. We identified six main fields of study interest and potential wild boar conflict: (i) the role of the species in natural and semi-natural ecosystems, (ii) agricultural damages, (iii) car accidents, (iv) disease transmission and reservoir, (v) hunt and control, and (vi) urban wild boars.
... In Spain, game hunting has not only brought social, economic, and recreational benefits to local communities, but has also fostered the protection of wildlife, particularly game species (Pita-Fernández et al., 2012). The Andalusian roe deer (Capreolus capreolus var. ...
The Andalusian roe deer (Capreolus capreolus var. garganta) is a medium-sized ungulate species whose unique biological features and protected, red-listed status have made it a highly prized hunting trophy. This game species is relatively abundant in forest ecosystems of southern Spain (province of Cádiz), at the European side of the Strait of Gibraltar. In this region, the herriza or Mediterranean heathland is a relatively abundant natural habitat of outstanding biodiversity value but frequently underappreciated due to its characteristic treeless feature. We searched available abundance data of roe deer in 182 hunting estates in the province of Cádiz during three four-year periods (2006–2009, 2010–2013, and 2014–2017) and obtained surface cover data of herriza habitat for each estate. We also collected data on other variables that could influence roe deer abundance, such as hunting estate surface area, and relative abundance of red deer (Cervus elaphus), a co-occurring game species. Then, using a spatially explicit approach, we explored the association of the Andalusian roe deer with the relative abundance of herriza and red deer in the hunting states. A significant, positive effect of the relative abundance of herriza in the hunting estates was found for the Andalusian roe deer abundance but not for the red deer. Although reasons for such positive association remain speculative, an ecosystem service potential of the herriza should be considered, not only to enhance the conservation of a protected, singular game species, but also to promote the conservation value of a unique natural habitat.
... Data on hunted roe deer were collected in the GR (1,210 km 2 ), and those on non-hunted roe deer found dead came from these GR and their surrounding areas. GR are public hunting grounds, which are managed by regional governments (Pita-Fernández et al. 2012). Human density was approx. ...
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Trophy Hunting (TH) is thought to be the reason for the reduction in length and thickness of trophies as well as body size in several Bovidae species. In deer populations, changes have occurred in allele frequencies and in number of antler tips, possibly the result of the removal of males that showed the best trophies. To evaluate whether TH selection occurred in a roe deer population, we compared the antlers and body biometrics of bucks harvested (n=278, 2006-2014) through stalking with a ranger within Game Reserves in the Aragonese Pyrenees (Spain) and those of non-hunted bucks found dead in the same and surrounding areas (n=28, 2004-2014); the latter were necropsied. For the analyses, hunters were assigned to one of three categories: local, regional, or national, depending on the origin and access to the hunting permissions. The study assessed the selection perception and hunt difficulty among rangers (n=18) and hunters (n=209). Statistical analyses used non-parametric Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis tests. The results indicated that (i), in all biometrics except brow tines, hunted bucks were larger than the non-hunted ones, (ii) hunter typologies did not differ, and (iii) rangers and hunters did not differ in their perceptions of selection and difficulty. Our results suggest that, the roe deer hunt through stalking in the Game Reserves selected the best trophies, and the rangers were essential in that process. Furthermore, if the main objective of roe deer TH is to harvest the animals with larger antlers, this selection could have a long-term negative impact.
... Es importante recalcar la importancia de las reservas de caza en la recuperación de especies cinegéticas en general, y de la cabra montés en la Cordillera Cantábrica en particular. Estos territorios cinegéticos de gestión pública, declarados en terrenos con excepcionales potencialidades cinegéticas, se crearon para fomentar la caza, controlar del furtivismo, fomentar el turismo cinegético y, sobre todo, recuperar las poblaciones de especies cinegéticas en un momento en el que muchas de ellas tenían diezmadas sus poblaciones (Pita et al., 2012). Actualmente han cumplido sobradamente los objetivos por los que fueron declaradas, la mayoría de las poblaciones animales que justificaban su interés se han recuperado y a partir de ellas han iniciado la colonización de C. PRADA & J. HERRERO otros territorios. ...
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Iberian wild goat Capra pyrenaica has been re-introduced in the Cantabrian Mountains in Leon province (Riaño and Ancares). To evaluate habitat and restocking suitability in the National Game Reserve of Os Ancares (NGRA, Lugo province) we: (i) undertook a reconstruction of its natural history in the NW of the Iberian Peninsula; (ii) gathered data on its current distribution in Ancares; (iii) analyzed its habitat use though a review of similar experiences; (iv) developed a cartography to define its potential habitat, and y v) drew a zoning of the NGRA following habitat quality. Results indicate the existence of suitable habitat in 1,250, which could host 40 animals considering a density of 3 goat km-2. The management of this population should we coordinated with the leonese side of the massif, of higher quality and surface rather than the Lugo’s slope. The increase of the current population will allow the species to colonize naturally the whole massif.La cabra montés, Capra pirenaica, ha sido reintroducida en la Cordillera Cantábrica en León (Riaño y Ancares). Con el fin de evaluar la viabilidad del hábitat y del reforzamiento poblacional en la Reserva Nacional de Caza de Os Ancares (RNCA, Lugo) llevamos a cabo: (i) una reconstrucción de su historia natural en el NO de la Península Ibérica; (ii) una recolección de citas y determinación de la distribución actual en Ancares; (iii) el análisis del uso del espacio a partir de revisión de experiencias similares; (iv) un desarrollo de cartografía para definir su hábitat potencial y v) una zonificación de la RNCA en función de la calidad del hábitat. Los resultados indican la existencia de un área adecuada de 1.250 ha que podría albergar una población de 40 ejemplares considerando una densidad de 3 cabras km-2. La gestión de esta población debería estar coordinada con la de la parte leonesa del macizo, de mayor calidad y superficie que la parte lucense. El crecimiento actual de la población existente permitirá a la especie colonizar todo el macizo de forma natural.
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Comments regarding Marco et al., 2015, ‘The two sides of border disease in Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica): silent persistence and population collapse’ - Volume 17 Issue 2 - María Cruz Arnal, Juan Herrero, Olatz Fernández, David Martínez, Carlos Prada, Alicia García-Serrano, Daniel Fernández de Luco
Species identification by DNA barcodes has become in recent years a very useful tool in molecular biology. But the degradation level shown in some samples, makes regular barcodes impractical for cases in which DNA is fragmented as it happens commonly in forensic casework. Therefore, the use of mini barcodes with sizes below 200 bp is recommended to achieve optimal amplifications. The present study is focused on the identification of five Iberian Peninsula big game species, Red deer (Cervus elaphus), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), brown bear (Ursus arctos) and wolf (Canis lupus), using a pair of universal primers that amplify a 148 bp Cytochrome B mini barcode. The analysis of amplicons was made using High-Resolution Melting and the results have shown a correct identification of the five big game species analyzed even in degraded samples.
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La cabra montés de los Pirineos (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica Schinz, 1838), localmente llamada bucardo, es uno de los pocos grandes mamíferos europeos al borde de la extinción (Natura 2000 Newsletter, Feb. 1999). En la reciente revisión realizada por el Specialist Caprinae Group de la IUCN era catalogado como “En Peligro Crítico” (CR) (Shackleton 1997). En el momento actual podría decirse que el bucardo se encuentra virtualmente extinto. Durante los dos últimos años tan sólo se tiene constancia de la existencia de una hembra vieja en la zona refugio del Valle de Arazas en el Pirineo Central. Los esfuerzos realizados en la búsqueda de más individuos en otras zonas cercanas han sido infructuosos (Seijas 1998). A mediados de los años 90 se constataba la casi segura ausencia de machos. Desde ese momento la subespecie estaba condenada a la extinción, al menos en su estado natural. Sin embargo, durante los últimos 10 años se han dedicado muchos más esfuerzos por lograr su recuperación que en todo lo que va de siglo. Importantes medios económicos y técnicos se han puesto a disposición del objetivo de su recuperación. Desafortunadamente se emprendieron demasiado tarde. El texto que sigue es una breve descripción de las actuaciones más relevantes llevadas a cabo durante los últimos 10 años, junto con algunas reflexiones y enseñanzas que podemos extraer de cara al futuro.
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During the last century, human activities have promoted large changes in habitats, leading to changes in the abundance and composition of mammal communities. Some species have been favoured intentionally (specially those with high economic importance), or unintentionally (i.e. opportunistic species), introduced las some livestock species), or persecuted (i.e. species that affect livestock or game). In this paper, we show and explain the changes in the composition of the large mammal community in Aragon, a northeastern Spanish area where there have been extinctions (lynx, Lynx sp.); introductions (moufflon, Ovis ammon; fallow deer, Dama dame); reintroductions (red deer, Cervus elaphus); and particularly natural expansions (wild boar, Sus scrofa; roe deer, Capreolus capreolus; red deer; Pyrenean chamois, Rupicapra pyrenaica pyrenaica). Some taxa are currently almost extinct (brown bear, Ursus arctos; Pyrenean ibex, Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica) and others are recovering after getting close to extinction (wolf, Canis lupus). Three interconnected causes may explain the clear increment of ungulates in our study area: (1) the abandonment of rural activities, (2) the subsequent decrease of livestock, and (3) the increase of forest habitats. None of those species are currently below 150 % of their range in the 19(th) century. The setting up of hunting reservations and the design of a hunting legislation have also contributed to the observed changes. Traditionally, large predators have not been favoured by human activities, while compensatory protection measures carried out have been scarce or came too late. While some of these species are probably extinct in the area, the remaining occupy currently less than one fourth of their former range and need urgent conservation measures for to recover.
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We investigated management of wildlife, habitat and the hunting programme in Aksai County, Gansu Province, People's Republic of China, during 1997-2000. Argali Ovis amnion is the focal species both for conservation and hunting. The hunting programme is intended to produce incentives to conserve wildlife and habitat. Poaching, a serious concern throughout western China, has been reduced in recent years in Aksai. Wildlife population trends are unknown because standardized surveys were begun only in 2000. Threats to argali in Aksai include livestock grazing, placer gold mining, and development of a dam, reservoir and aqueduct. The number of hunters participating in the programme (c. 3 per year) could provide considerable funding (c. $60,000 per year), but the allocation of these funds within China has provided too little for conservation at the local level, thus undermining the intended incentive system. Because local wildlife protection officials have been denied both funding and authority to deal with t
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The services of ecological systems and the natural capital stocksthat produce them are critical to the functioning of the Earth’s life-support system. They contribute to human welfare, both directly and indirectly, and therefore represent part of the total economic value of the planet.We have estimated the current economic value of 17 ecosystem services for 16 biomes, based on published studies and a few original calculations. For the entire biosphere, the value (most of which is outside the market) is estimated to be in the range of US$16–54 trillion (1012) per year, with an average of US$33trillion per year. Because of the nature of the uncertainties, thismust be considered a minimum estimate. Global gross national product total is around US$18 trillion per year.
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The remarkable increase of wild ungulates populations in Aragon during the last 50 years, both in numbers and distribution, has made population monitoring a need for effective management of these species. In parallel to their raising numbers, problems related to crop damage and collisions with vehicles are growing. In this situation there has been a shift in the management goals from conservation to population control. Different methods have been used in the surveys: postal enquiries for distribution, battues, distance sampling, night spotlight surveys and indirect ones based on transect and plot counts of pellet groups. Surveys started in 1985 for red deer, 1990 for wild boar and Iberian wild goat, 1995 for chamois and 2002 for roe deer, gradually becoming a population monitoring program. The surveys are carried out by rangers and wildlife consultants under the coordination and supervision of the Fish and Game Service of the Aragon Government. The ungulate populations are still growing (wild boar, wild goat, red and roe deer), are relatively stabilised (fallow deer, feral goat), fluctuate due to diseases (chamois) or show small populations limited to fenced states (Barbary sheep, mouflon). Hunting bags went from 1,100 to 36,000 during an eleven-year period (1990-2009): 303 chamois, 1,173 wild goats, 2,141 roe deer, 2,424 red deer and 29,595 wild boars, showing a trend which is still increasing. The main tool is therefore hunting quota and its verification through hunting bags declarations, damages to crops and car crashes, and population trend and abundance. La importante expansión de las poblaciones de ungulados silvestres en Aragón desde los años 50 del siglo XX hasta la actualidad, tanto en superficie ocupada como en abundancia de ejemplares, ha hecho necesario el seguimiento de las mismas para su adecuada gestión. Su incremento en las dos últimas décadas, junto con el importante aumento de daños agrícolas y colisiones con vehículos, ha motivado un importante cambio en los criterios gestores; pasando de la conservación y fomento al control e incluso reducción de efectivos. Los métodos utilizados para el seguimiento de las poblaciones fueron: encuestas quincenales de distribución, batidas, muestreos de distancia, captura – recaptura, fareos nocturnos y muestreos indirectos basados en el conteo de grupos de excrementos en transectos y parcelas fijas. Los seguimientos se comenzaron a realizar en 1985 en el caso del ciervo, 1990 en el jabalí y cabra montesa, 1995 en el sarrio y 2002 en el corzo, habiéndose convertido paulatinamente en una verdadera monitorización poblacional. Los seguimientos son realizados por Agentes de Protección de la Naturaleza del Gobierno de Aragón y asistencias técnicas externas, bajo la supervisión y coordinación de los responsables administrativos. Los resultados obtenidos muestran que, algunas poblaciones continúan su expansión e incremento (jabalí, ciervo, corzo, cabra montesa), otras se encuentran relativamente estabilizadas (gamo, cabra doméstica asilvestrada), y unas pocas fluctúan debido a enfermedades (sarrio) o muestran presencias testimoniales prácticamente reducidas a cercados (arruí, muflón). Las capturas declaradas han pasado de 1.100 a 36.000 en 11 años (1999-2009): 303 sarrios, 1.173 cabras montesas, 2.141 corzos, 2.424 ciervos y 29.595 jabalíes, con una tendencia al incremento que aún no ha finalizado. El instrumento fundamental por lo tanto son los cupos de caza y su verificación se realiza a partir de las declaraciones de capturas, los daños a la agricultura y accidentes automovilísticos y la tendencia y abundancia poblacional.
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Summary • Wild large herbivores provide goods and income to rural communities, have major impacts on land use and habitats of conservation importance and, in some cases, face local or global extinction. As a result, substantial effort is applied to their management across the globe. To be effective, however, management has to be science-based. We reviewed recent fundamental and applied studies of large herbivores with particular emphasis on the relationship between the spatial and temporal scales of ecosystem response, management decision and implementation. • Long-term population dynamics research has revealed fundamental differences in how sex/age classes are affected by changes in density and weather. Consequently, management must be tailored to the age and sex structure of the population, rather than to simple population counts. • Herbivory by large ungulates shapes the structure, diversity and functioning of most terrestrial ecosystems. Recent research has shown that fundamental herbivore/vegetation interactions driving landscape change are localized, often at scales of a few metres. For example, sheep and deer will selectively browse heather Calluna vulgaris at the edge of preferred grass patches in heather moorland. As heather is vulnerable to heavy defoliation, in the long term this can lead to loss of heather cover despite the average utilization rate of heather in a management area being low. Therefore, while herbivore population management requires a large-scale approach, management of herbivore impacts on vegetation may require a much more flexible and site-specific approach. • Localized impacts on vegetation have cascading effects on biodiversity, because changes in vegetation structure and composition, induced by large herbivores affect habitat suitability for many other species. As such, grazing should be considered as a tool for broader biodiversity management requiring a more sophisticated approach than just, for example, eliminating grazing from conservation areas through the use of exclosures. • Synthesis and applications. The management of wild large herbivores must consider different spatial scales, from small patches of vegetation to boundaries of an animal population. It also requires long-term planning based on a deep understanding of how population processes, such a birth rate, death rate and age structure, are affected by changes in land use and climate and how these affect localized herbivore impacts. Because wild herbivores do not observe administrative or political boundaries, adjusting their management to socio-political realities can present a challenge. Many developing countries have established co-operative management groups that allow all interested parties to be involved in the development of management plans; developed countries have a lot to learn from the developing world's example. Journal of Applied Ecology (2004) 41, 1021 –1031
Probably in response to recent changes in habitat structure, populations of a number of species of deer are increasing both in numbers and in geographical distribution in lowland Britain. In the wake of this expansion there is increasing awareness and concern over damage to agriculture/horticulture and forestry, as well as damage to sensitive vegetation in conservation areas. Despite a perception that damage levels are rising, data that actually quantify the scale of impact by deer on lowland agriculture and forestry interests or conservation habitats are scarce. This review attempts to draw together such objective data as are available to assess more formally the actual impact of deer damage in these different contexts and the economic significance of damage caused. The review concludes with a brief consideration of implications for management. The majority of agricultural damage reported in England and Wales was due to Fallow, Red and Roe Deer; Muntjac were only implicated in a little horticultural damage where they are numerous. Most reports were of damage to pasture or cereals, with oilseed rape, nursery and orchard crops also frequently damaged. Because of fundamental differences in ecology and distribution, different species of deer were implicated in different types of damage, depending on feeding habit and distribution in relation to geographical patterns of crop-type. In a woodland context, Fallow, Red and Roe Deer were implicated in the majority of reported damage in lowland UK, which is most frequent in the north of England and lowest in Wales. Despite the apparent severity of damage caused to agriculture or forestry, the actual economic significance of such damage would appear in many cases to be negligible or small. Field crops frequently recover completely from such damage, and although woodland crops may be checked and quality of the timber may be reduced as a consequence of earlier browsing damage, losses may be far less than they first appear. This whole question of the true economic cost of deer damage needs further research. Deer damage to conservation habitats in England and Wales appears largely restricted to woodland; impact on heathlands, grasslands and wetlands is generally welcomed as helping to arrest invasion of scrub. Within woodlands, while concern is expressed in a small number of cases over losses of sensitive ground flora or suppression of natural regeneration, the major problem is in damage to coppice regrowth on sites where coppice management has been recently reintroduced.
There is a lack of consensus among some conservation NGOs and African governments concerning the acceptability and effectiveness of trophy hunting as a conservation tool. This lack of consensus is due partly to a lack of reliable information on the economic significance and ecological impact of the industry. We provide a review of the scale of the trophy hunting industry, and assess both positive and negative issues relating to hunting and conservation in Africa. Trophy hunting occurs in 23 countries in Africa, with the largest industries occurring in southern Africa and Tanzania, where the industry is expanding. The trophy hunting industry has remained static or is shrinking in Central and West Africa. A minimum of 1,394,000 km2 is used for trophy hunting in sub-Saharan Africa, which exceeds the area encompassed by national parks. Trophy hunting is thus of major importance to conservation in Africa by creating economic incentives for conservation over vast areas, including areas which may be unsuitable for alternative wildlife-based land uses such as photographic ecotourism. However, there are a number of problems associated with the industry which limit conservation benefits. Several of these problems are common to multiple countries, suggesting that if solutions were developed, conservation benefits would accrue over large areas.