Conservation News by Malcolm Palmer

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From Sergio Arroyo come two pieces of very welcome information conservation-wise. One is that, after studying the likely environmental impact, it has been decided not to exploit the unknown resources of petroleum which lie beneath the seas off the coast of Valencia. Tourism reigns supreme here, I think, with figures of hotel occupation, especially at Benidorm, going through the roof.

Another decision, of more obvious and immediate effect upon our ornithological world is that brought about by pressure from conservation bodies not to go ahead with the crazy plans for a massive urbanisation straddling the Sierra de Escalona. For those who may not know the area, this rather insignificant looking wooded ridge lies just south of Torrellano, near the border of Alicante and Murcia Provinces, and is the favoured post-breeding site for two rare species; Golden Eagle and Bonelli’s Eagle, as well as a fair number of Buzzards, Sparrowhawks and other birds. Furthermore, it supports a breeding population of a surprising number of Eagle Owls, so that it’s rabbit population is important to many species of birds. In recent years other rarer birds have put in occasional appearances, too, with Imperial Eagle heading the list.