► Plan creates breeding area for ‘sea hawks’ migrating from Africa each year ►
A dwindling number of ospreys that migrate annually from North Africa to Europe via Spain’s Mediterranean coast and the Balearic Islands are to be given safe haven and a possible new breeding ground under a plan designed to introduce the endangered birds in the Montgó and Marjal Pego-Oliva natural parks in the Marina Alta region that straddles the provinces of Alicante and Valencia.
Fewer than 100 of the ospreys (Pandion aliaetus, known in Spanish as aguilas pescadores or “fishing eagles” and often referred to in English as “sea hawks”) are believed to migrate north from Morocco and Algeria through Spain each year. Those migrating along Spain’s Mediterranean coastline have seen their route restricted by the growth of coastal human habitat, encroaching upon migratory stopover sites and making their journey northward increasingly difficult each year.
Supported by the regional government of Valencia and the municipalities of Xàbia (Javea), Dénia, Pego and Oliva, the new project will introduce 10 mating pairs of ospreys between the rugged Montgó natural park bordering the Alicante municipalities of Xàbia and Denia, and the marshland natural park of Marjal Pego-Oliva in Valencia province.
The plan, advocated by the environmentalist organization Acció Ecologista-Agró and Denia-based ecotourism company Magic & Nature, hopes to encourage the birds to consider the parklands as their natural habitat and provide them with an alternative breeding ground for them each year.
The project will kick off in Xàbia with the establishment of artificial nesting sites in the Les Planes area adjacent to Montgó natural park, then extend to the coastal marshlands park around Oliva and Pego. The regional government of Valencia has agreed to finance the project for a period of five years.
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