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The Regional Government of Castilla & León, EDP Renewables and the EDP Foundation launch a conservation programme for the red kite in the region

The Regional Government of Castilla & León, EDP Renewables and the EDP Foundation launch a conservation programme for the red kite in the region

Madrid, 24 November 2015: The Regional Head of Environment for Castilla & León, José Ángel Arranz, accompanied by the EDP Renewables regional representative, David Abascal, presented a conservation programme for the red kite (Milvus milvus) in Castilla & León at a press conference this morning.

Of all Europe’s birds of prey, the red kite’s distribution is among the most limited. It is found mainly in Europe to the west of the Urals, particularly in Germany, France and Spain, which are home to 90% of the global population. Spain has a sizeable breeding population and is the largest wintering quarter for populations in more northern regions.

The 3rd national census in 2013 and 2014, coordinated by the Spanish Ornithology Society, revealed the distribution, situation and conservation status of the breeding and wintering populations. Whilst the census of the wintering population was carried out by various ornithology groups and associations, the census of the breeding population of the region of Castilla & León was undertaken by the Regional Government itself.

Castilla & León is estimated to have a population of 1,298 breeding pairs and 25,300 wintering birds, accounting as such for 56.14% and 50.30% respectively of the total populations for Spain. The provinces of Salamanca and Zamora are home to the largest populations of both breeding and wintering birds.

EDP Renewables Regional Representative David Abascal said at the presentation of the programme: “EDP Renewables’ absolute commitment to the natural and sociocultural environment in the areas where we operate is one of the cornerstones of the company’s activity. We are particularly pleased to have the opportunity, alongside the EDP Foundation, to work with the Regional Government of Castilla & León on this crucial initiative for the conservation of the red kite.”

The full programme is to be implemented through five main lines of action.

Improve awareness of the biology of the red kite, essentially by radio-collaring various birds (4). This will show local and migratory movement and dispersal, the way they use the land, the availability of trophic resources and unnatural mortality factors. The programme also includes the installation of a video camera in a nest and the drafting of specific mapping which will be extremely useful for the study.

Undertake actions that promote and increase trophic resources, especially in municipal districts in the provinces of Burgos, Palencia, León and Zamora which have red kite populations and are classified as Protection Areas for Food Sources for Necrophagous Species of regional interest (ZPAEN, in Spanish). This line of action includes the identification of the best sources of carrion and informative and advisory meetings with livestock farmers and agricultural cooperatives, among others, as well as the design and construction of a pilot feeding site specifically for the red kite, which will help provide food sources in areas where prey is scarce.

To identify incidents with electrical infrastructure and wind turbines, reports will be drawn up to provide an overview of the areas with the highest death rates and risk of poisoning for red kites, including the measures to be taken to rectify any issues and an assessment of the cost involved in implementing these measures. The goal is to lower the number of unnatural deaths.

The last two actions are to increase monitoring and minimise disruptions during the breeding period and during the time spent in roosts in the winter and to carry out informative programmes to raise awareness among society. Workshops will be organised to provide environmental education and raise awareness among the local population, school students and all groups with an impact on the conservation of this species. Various technical sessions will be held on biology and poisoning protocols in order to give all stakeholders in the programme a better understanding of the issues at hand.