The fire in Tenerife affects 39 bird species and a dozen protected areas

On the night of August 15, a fire broke out on the island of Tenerife has affected around 13,400 hectares and twelve communes on this island, with La Orotava being the commune that contributes the largest area to the total with about a third. At this point, the fire is estimated to have reached approximately 90km in circumference and although expected to be positive, is not yet considered controlled. According to the island authorities, almost a thousand people and about three hundred animals had to be accommodated as a result of the fire.

With the official information of the European Union Emergency Satellite Surveillance System (Copernicus EMS), in a first analysis the following spaces of Canarian Network of Protected Natural Areas The following would be affected: Siete Lomas Landscape Protection Area, Las Lagoontas Landscape Protection Area, Las Palomas Special Protection Area, La Resbala Landscape Protection Area, Pinoleris Integral Protection Area, Corona Forestal Nature Park and El Teide National Park.

The fire had to house almost a thousand people and around three hundred animals

In addition, some of these areas are fully or partially part of the Natura 2000 network., the European Ecological Network of Biodiversity Conservation Areas. Specifically the Special Protected Areas (ZEC) following: Teide National Park, Pinoleris, Las Palomas, Corona Forestal, Las Lagoontas, La Resbala; and the special protection zones Montes y Cumbres de Tenerife (ZEPA).

About 40 bird species affected

It is still too early for an assessment, since the fire has not yet been extinguished according to the information published Copernicus EMS and based on the data available to SEO/BirdLife, the environmental NGO estimates that The areas affected by the fire are home to 39 different bird species with different habitats (mainly Canarian pine forest, but also laurel forest), many of which are endemic species or subspecies both on the island level and on the Canary or Macaronesian level.

It is highlight the case of the great spotted woodpecker, a woodpecker or a forest bird of prey like the sparrow hawk, but also passerine birds like the herrerillo or the canary and the blue fox of Tenerife. The latter, an insular endemism, could drastically reduce the extent of its habitat, despite a significant number of specimens. EITHERThe symbolic birds potentially affected are nocturnal raptors such as the owl or the long-eared owl, but also cryptic species such as the partridge woodcock and other endangered species such as the raven, classified as endangered, without forgetting the two doves endemic to the Canary Islands, the Rabiche and the Turqué.

In the medium and long term, we are also concerned about habitat loss as our protected areas are already under pressure.

Yarci Acosta, SEO/BirdLife delegate in the Canary Islands

“Direct mortality is not generally an issue for birds, although exposure to smoke can affect their airways, just like in humans.” However, escape flights can encourage collisions and crossings between them. In addition, we are currently ending the breeding season of numerous species of birds and we hope that the young of some of them will make their first flights and, due to their inexperience, will be able to escape the fire will be reduced,” explains Yarci AcostaSEO/BirdLife delegate in the Canary Islands

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Acosta also points out that “in the medium and long term, we are also concerned about habitat loss, given the pressures that our protected areas are already facing.” In this context, we hope to be able to study the evolution of bird populations within the burned areas , so that we can understand it better recolonization processas we did with the fire that occurred in August 2012 on La Gomera in the Garajonay National Park and the most recent fire in 2020 in Tijarafe and Garafía on the island of La Palma.”.

The nature conservation organization also reminds us of this There are no easy solutions or magic recipes for complex problems such as fire management and demands respect for the multidisciplinary professionals dedicated to this work.

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