Articles posted in Wildlife

24 articles

Rancho Texas Lanzarote Park Participates in Monk seal Recovery Pojects

Rancho Texas Lanzarote Park joins the European Association of Aquatic Mammals committed to recover the most threatened marine mammal in Europe, the monk seal which inhabited the Island of Lobos many years ago and is the reason the island has its name.
This the marine mammal is in great danger of extinction in Europe. Its presence was once frequent in all the Mediterranean countries especially off the African coast and Macaronesia but it has now almost disappeared completely from the face of the Earth. Various international organizations and the important work of raising awareness hope to improve their chances of survival.

In 2019, the European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM), of which Rancho Texas Lanzarote Park is a part, will double its efforts to help this species through organizations that rehabilitate rescued monk seal puppies and later return them to nature. Although the efforts are paying off, there is still a lot of work to be optimistic in the total recovery of the species. Accidental death from fishing and degradation of the beaches where they breed are the worst threats.

Whales in Canarian Waters

The abundance of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in Canary waters between March and May is usually accompanied by one of its natural predators….whales!!!!. This time of year its nor unusual to find these whales off the coast of the Canary islands.  Yesterday about ten miles from Puerto Rico, in Gran Canaria there were two different groups of dolphins spotted.

One formed by two males and, at least, six more females and some young and another, about two miles from the first, with one male and three females.

Killer whales usually move in family groups and stay together for a lifetime. Sometimes several groups can be joined to form super families. It has been known for the clans to develop their own dialects to communicate


Popcorn Seaweed in The Canary Islands

Calcareous seaweed has become well know for its shape that resembles popcorn and in abundance on the Canary island of El Hierro due to an expoliation place on the beach. As published on Monday in Spanish newspapers El País, visitors are taking about ten kilos a month which is causing a deterioration of the landscape and violating the environment. This has led to the launch of a campaign by the local authorities. The beach is nicknamed PopCornBeach which has been used widely on Instagram with posts from June 27 of 2015. Similar beaches in the north of Fuerteventura have also become famous for the calcareous seaweed on the coast in the place of sand.

From a distance the beaches have a normal appearance but close up you can see that this is not the case and it is covered with pieces of popcorn. Actually, the pieces are white coral that has eroded on the shore, where they mix with volcanic rocks and sand.

The calcareous algae comes almost certainly from the bottom of the Bocaina strait which divides Lanzarote and Fuerteventura where there is a forest of rhodoliths that guarantee the fishing reserves off the coast of the municipality of La Oliva.

This species of algae does not have roots and is in the form of relatively compact balls that are brought to shore by waves. Sea urchins and the limpets feed on this algae which makes them very important to for sea life in the Canries

Butterfly Swarm in Lanzarote

There seems to be an exceptional swarm of butterflies on the island at the moment. The Canary Islands are home to around 600 species (including moths) and more than a quarter of these are not found anywhere else in the world! The Monarch butterfly is probably the most common and there are plenty about this month. Identified by its orange and red wings which are veined with black. The caterpillar feeds on a certain species of Milkweed which can normally be found in border gardens. The population is dependent on the availability of this plant life alone.
The striped caterpillar with the bold warning colours of black and yellow and creamy white is prominent to tell predators that it is nasty-tasting and poisonous.



We’ve Found Dory

The Acanthurus Monroviae is a tropical fish which lives in the waters of the eastern Atlantic Ocean. The more common name to many of us is Dory which has come from the popular animated films Finding Nemo and Finding Dory. This little blue fish has been found in the sea surrounding the island of La Graciosa the island which is just off the coast of the northen tip of Lanzarote. It’s a rare sighting as the waters are generally cooler around the island. It was luckily discovered by a diver and runner up in under water photography in Spain called Tanuausu Motas. In a  month he has managed to photo 95 different species. Its thought that that the fish could have arrived next to some floating object making it a refugee, making a long journey from the coasts of the neighboring continent of Africa.

Diadema Hedgehogs In Danger

Over the recent months there has been growing concern over the motality of the Antillarum. These white shell creatures can be seen covering the rocks and the seabed all over the Canary Islands but they seem to be dissapearing quickly, so fast that it is thought that 95% have been eliminated. Experts will need to be briefed to carry out a more detailed analysis of what is happening, to stop Diadema hedgehog as they are also known being completely eliminated. One theory is that the sea is an unusual temperature which is well below the average for this time of year. In August it is not normal for seawater to be only 20 degrees, as present the water is a lot cooler which could have provoked a virus or bacteria which is not helping its development

Angel Sharks Being Monitored In The Canaries

The Canarian archipelago is serving as an experimental field for a group of scientists studying the angel shark, or angelfish (Squatina squatina). The species is in danger of extintion and they are now being monitored by a new system using acoustics. Apparentley the waters surrounding the Canary Islands is a safer habitat or them compared to the rest of Europe.

The monitoring consists in placing acoustic marks on the first dorsal fin of the adults in order to follow up and obtain information about each specimen. Through strategically installed receivers in the perimeter of the marine reserve, with a range of up to 500 meters in diameter, receive accurate information on patterns of distribution, habitat use and the population structure of the angelfish in thE area.

Pigeon Racing Lanzarote

You dont see many pigeons around on a day to day bases, so much so you would wonder if these birds are resident on the island. There are however quite a few natives that have pigeon lofts in their houses and take part in sporting events and use them for racing. There are at leat 200 pigein fanciers in Lanzarote alone spread amongst 4 clubs on the island. You can count this as a popular sport in the Canaries as the population of fancias is estimated around 60% all over Spain. Its a quite a difficult place to race these birds due to the high winds and dry landscape meaning the birds find it very difficult to find water to drink.

There is at the moment a dispute in Lanzarote which is looking to be resolved. Aena (the company which is in charge of Arrecife airport) are looking for compensation of 177,000 euros due to events taking place which invade airspace and put flights at risk.

Threat to Canarian Barn Owl

The environmental organization for birdlife has asked the Canary Islands to develope a conservation plan for the Barn Owl which records have shown a 13% decline in the last decade. The Canarian Majorera Owl has been nationaly catagorised as vulnerable and has been included in the Red Book of birds in Spain and listed as endangered. The threats faced by these owls are the same as the threats experienced in the whole of Spain, mainly loss of habitat (especially on the coast), the modification of agricultural landscape and the uncontrolled use of poison in the countryside