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ENVIRONMENT

Spain’s beautiful mountain wilderness hits the silver screen

Cantábrico, a new feature-length nature documentary, is released in cinemas across Spain on Friday and it promises to show you Spain as you have never seen it before.

Spain’s beautiful mountain wilderness hits the silver screen
Wolves out on the hunt appear in the film Cantábrico. Photo: Wanda Films

The protagonists of this breathtaking film include a pack of wolves, a family of brown bears, wild cats and amazing birdlife found in the mountains of Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla y León.

The filmmakers took two years to collect rare footage of Spain’s fauna in their natural habitat, including a never before filmed deer hunt carried out by a pack of Iberian wolves.

Thanks to the use of high-definition cameras as well as drones, the crew were able to capture stunning scenes showing the life of Spain’s rare Cantabrian bears as well as close-ups of carnivorous plants devouring insects and Ibex skipping across snowy peaks.

The film, directed by Joaquín Gutiérrez Acha and produced by Wanda Films, is on general release across Spain on Friday March 31st.

View the film's trailer here: 

ENVIRONMENT

Police operation targets illegal water tapping in Spain

More than 130 people were arrested or placed under investigation for illegal water tapping last year, Spain’s Guardia Civil police said on Wednesday following a huge operation.

Police said most of their operations took place “in fragile and vulnerable areas such as the Doñana natural park”
Police said most of their operations took place “in fragile and vulnerable areas such as the Doñana natural park” in Andalusia. Photo: CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP

During the year-long operation, “133 people were arrested or investigated for extracting water through more than 1,533 illegal infrastructure devices”, the police’s environmental unit said in a statement.

A similar operation in 2019 had targeted 107 people.

Spain is one of the European countries most at risk from the impact of drought caused by global warming, scientists say.

Water usage issues are often at the heart of heated political debates in Spain where intensive agriculture plays an important role in the economy.

Police said most of their operations took place “in fragile and vulnerable areas such as the Doñana natural park” in the southern Andalusia region, one of Europe’s largest wetlands and a Unesco World Heritage bird sanctuary.

They were also operating in “in the basins of Spain’s main rivers”.

In Doñana, police targeted 14 people and 12 companies for the illegal tapping of water for irrigation, a police spokesman said.

Ecologists regularly raise the alarm about the drying up of marshes and lagoons in the area, pointing the finger at nearby plantations, notably growing strawberries, which are irrigated by illegally-dug wells.

“The overexploitation of certain aquifers for many reasons, mainly economic, constitutes a serious threat to our environment,” the Guardia Civil said.

The European Court of Justice rapped Spain over the knuckles in June for its inaction in the face of illegal water extraction in Donana which covers more than 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) and is home to more than 4,000 species, including the critically endangered Iberian lynx.

According to the government’s last official estimate, which dates back to 2006, there were more than half a million illegal wells in use.

But in a 2018 study, Greenpeace estimated there were twice as many, calculating that the quantity of stolen water was equivalent to that used by 118 million people — two-and-a-half times the population of Spain.

Spanish NGO SEO/Birdlife also on Wednesday raised the alarm about the “worrying” state of Spain’s wetlands.

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