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LYNX

WATCH: First Eurasion Lynx born in Spanish Pyrenees for more than a century

Officially extinct in the region for more than a century, a Eurasion Lynx has been born in the Catalan Pyrenees.

WATCH: First Eurasion Lynx born in Spanish Pyrenees for more than a century
The male lynx cub is the first of its species to be born in the Spanish pyrenees in more than a century. Photo: Fundación Catalunya La Pedrera

The male cub arrived “unexpectedly” on May 28, taking rangers at the Fundación Catalunya La Pedrera completely by surprise, the trust said in a statement on Wednesday.

 

The newest arrival was born to a pair of Eurasion lynx that have been at the conservation centre for 11 years, having been transferred from a zoo in Galicia in 2008 after being bred in captivity.

La Pedrera released a video of the cub exploring its habitat under the watchful eye of its mother.

Although the Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus) has been brought back from the brink of extinction thanks to a breeding programme in the south of Spain, the larger Eurasion Lynx (Lynx Lynx) had died out in the wilds of Spain a hundred years ago after being hunted to extinction.

Europe’s third largest predator after beers and wolves, Eurasian lynx were once prevalent across much of Western Europe.

The animals have been reintroduced into wild pockets of the Alps and now have populations thriving in Switzerland, France and Germany as well as Italy and across central and northern Europe.

There is even talk of reintroducing them in Scotland.

READ MORE: How Spain brought the Iberian Lynx back from the brink of extinction

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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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