Rewilding Europe
 

Achievements to date

General

  • Western Iberia is a bit of a frontrunner at this stage. This is mainly due to the fact that our two partner NGOs (FNYH on the Spanish and ATN on the Portuguese side) have been buying land for a while, so they have properties already (at this stage nearly 1300 hectares) creating the Campanarios de Azaba and Faia Brava reserves. These two areas are pilot areas from which the rewilding process is starting and taking shape.
  • Both NGOs were working in the area, but previously in more traditional ways, however, through their nomination they showed interest in the rewilding concept. Western Iberia is now in a transition from traditional ways of biodiversity management, over to rewilding approaches and rewilding enterprise development. This can be seen in the reserves, where on one hand trees were being planted until recently, while on the other hand large herbivores are being introduced.

Rewilding

  • Land stewardship agreements at different levels with more than 6000 hectares signed (2852 ha with management rights and 3471 ha without).
  • Agreement signed with Taurus Foundation to start breeding of Tauros in Faia Brava and Campanarios de Azaba.
  • Rabbit breeding sites improved (to rebuild the population of this keystone species e.g. as a prey source for future re-introduction of Iberian lynx).
  • In Faia Brava, 400 ha of no-hunting area agreed with hunting association and reserve extended with purchase of 200 ha.
  • Signed agreement with University of Aveiro for feasibility studies on reintroduction of red deer, Spanish ibex and roe dear in the Côa Valley.
  • A total of 24 Retuerta horses, 7 Garrano horses and 6 Sayaguesa cows acquired and released to start natural grazing in the two reserves (including partial fencing).

Enterprise

  • Three new wildlife-watching hides in operation in Campanarios at the vulture-feeding place.
  • Agreement with 10 tourism companies to advertise nature activities in Faia Brava.
  • External assistance to develop proposal for “Emplea Verde” – a line of local products linked to the rewilding project.
  • Building of a guesthouse (8 beds) and a biological station/visitor centre completed in the Campanarios reserve.
  • Development of enterprise ideas and business plans supported by central enterprise team, e.g. for the Campanarios reserve, the guesthouse and a wildlife breeding centre.

Communication

  • Film about Western Iberia rewilding area produced and broadcasted in Dutch Lottery programme in The Netherlands.
  • Specific photo missions and photo shoots done of releases of bovines and horses, providing excellent photo material.
  • Communication materials and tools developed including translation of brochure, Facebook page etc.
  • Strong media work with Spanish language media during the outdoor exhibition in Madrid.
  • Active participation in the Rewilding Iberia seminar in Madrid, which was very successful.
  • Continued communication and engangement with a variety of local stakeholders, landowners, authorities and others.