Endangered bird species returned to the wild in Alentejo

The Instituto de Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas (ICNF) has returned to wildlife 21 juveniles of the harrier (Circus pygarus), as part of the Emergency Plan for the Recovery of the species as it has been at risk since 2021. migratory species that nests in Portugal, the Alentejo region being one of the most important for its reproduction.

In 2011, in the Special Protection Zone of Castro Verde, it was estimated the presence of 214 breeding pairs of the tartaranhão-caçador species. In 2021, in the same area, the presence of only 50 couples was recorded, according to data from the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF).

“These figures indicate a decrease in the number of couples in Portugal of approximately 75% in the last 10 years, which reaches 85% in the Alentejo. , which are causing a very sharp decline of the species, which could mean its disappearance in Portugal”, explains the ICNF in a statement.

It was due to this critical situation of the species that the Emergency Plan for the Recovery of the Harrier in Portugal was initiated, coordinated by the ICNF. The objective is to prevent the extinction of this species in Portugal, through ex-situ (outside the wild) incubation of eggs to ensure their survival and increase the number of juveniles that enter the population in the wild.

“The emergency plan began in March with the prospection and location of colonies and nests in hay production areas by CIBIO/BIOPOLIS – Center for Research in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources”, says the ICNF. He adds that the choice of this date coincides with the nesting of the Hunting Eagle, a species that puts eggs, hatchlings and sometimes adults at risk. Olga Martins, director of ICNF in Alentejo, also points out that “the moment an adult of this species leaves the nests, leaving the eggs there, it will not return”.