VALUATION OF THE STATE OF THE BONELLI'S EAGLE POPULATION IN PRIORAT (TARRAGONA)

For about 25 years the Equip de Biologia de la Conservaciˇ - └liga perdiguera regularly controls the state of the population of the eagles that nest in the region of the Priorat (Tarragona). At the end of 90 years this was one of the population cores of the species with a better state of conservation of all Catalunya, but unfortunately in the last 5 years the things seem to have changed very quickly. The reproductive success of the pairs of eagles in this region has been diminishing alarmingly and on the other hand the number of changed adults or of eagles found  died has been increased.

From principles of this year 2005 our team is making the radiotracking of 4 pairs of Bonelli's eagles that raise within the mountain range of the Montsant. After the 6 first months of radiotracking, the data seem to confirm this worrisome fact. Anyone of the controlled pairs has ended up raising this year, in a case because one of the adults was shoted just when the chicken of the pair was born. In addition it has been possible to perceive that the eagles have difficulty more and more to find food in their territories, and one of the neighboring territories has been vacated during the nesting period.

The main cause of the situation more and more risky of this population nucleus is probably the fast transformation that has undergone the region of the Priorat in the last years. The increase of the forest mass, combined with an intensification of the agricultural uses, mainly the culture of the grapevine, has made consequently diminish the most favorable habitats for the eagles and the populations of its main preys.

Another fact that can affect in a future the territories of the eagles is the possible implantation of a new aeolian power station in this zone. To all that it is precise to also add the existence of a great number of dangerous electrical supports, in some of which two Bonelli's eagles betwen other raptors have been recently found electrocuted.

The Bonelli's eagle has been from always one of the more characteristic biological elements of the Priorat. Its presence symbolizes the ancestral balance between the man and the nature. A change of attitude is precise towards a more sustainable development of the region that guarantees the economic future of the population without damaging the valuable natural patrimony of the Priorat.