Park birds’ birthday blues
By Alex Watkins EL HONDO is marking 30 years since it was declared a natural park, but ecologists from the friends of the south Alicante wetlands association say there is nothing to celebrate.
The latest regional environment department census of birds nesting in the park shows the continuing decline in the number of breeding pairs over the last few years. They record the lowest numbers in the park’s history, from 8,932 pairs of 33 species in 2015, to 863 of 26 species in 2018 - a drop of 90% in just three years.
For the AHSA, the most worrying is the white-headed duck, which is classified as in danger of extinction and used El Hondo as one of its principal refuges in Europe.
Its numbers in the park have dropped from 85 breeding pairs in 2015 to just three in 2018. tion the need to install devices
Other birds that used to be along waterways to prevent plentiful, such as the blackmore carp from entering the necked grebe, which had 1,972 park, nor the possibility of pairs and the whiskered tern, draining the reservoirs, even which had 602, stopped nesting though this tactic has been sucin the park in 2017. cessfully employed there be
Even speciesfore.whichare plentiful in local wetlands – he ecologists pointed out such as the common pochard, that El Hondo has managed to little grebe and Eurasian coot – overcome very complicated have also lost over 90% of their situations before, such as pollubreeding population. tion of its waters, bird die-offs
The AHSA has repeatedly and its reservoirs drying up. warned that the decline is However, they assured that being caused by the overpopualthough the carp problem is lation of common carp in the also complicated, the regional wetlands, about which no effecgovernment can still make the tive action has yet been taken. necessary means available to
The common carp is one of restore balance to the ecothe 100 most damaging invasive system of this emblematic wetspecies in the world, according land. to the International Union for For a list of free 30th anniConservation of Nature. versary activities at El Hondo
The recently published rethis weekend (December 1-2), gional government plan to consee the What’s On section. trol the carp did not even men-