The Barcelona Zoo Foundation recognises Martí Boada for his work for biodiversity
Biodiversity Night also recognises the work of the Granollers Natural Sciences Museum and that of the spokesperson in this area, José Luis Gallego
The event showcases the conservation and research work carried out by the Foundation and Barcelona Zoo over the last 10 years
Three new videos of the conservation and research projects were presented. The Mallorcan Midwife Toad, The Insects of Collserola and Monitoring Rorqual Whales in the Mediterranean
Last night, the Barcelona Zoo Foundation presented the first edition of its Biodiversity Night in the auditorium of the Ciutadella Campus of Pompeu Fabra Unversity. The ceremony was attended by over 150 people, including academics, conservationists and members of Barcelona Zoo. It aims to become a major annual event for presenting the conservation and research work for biodiversity carried out in Catalonia in which both the Foundation and the Zoo's professional staff participate.
Antoni Alarcon, the director of the Zoo, acknowledged the efforts made by all those who dedicate a significant amount of their time and their lives to working for biodiversity and for the research and conservation of species. He highlighted all the work that the Barcelona Zoo Foundation has made possible in recent years.
He also highlighted the need to conserve our diversity given the decline in the number of species, placing particular emphasis on invertebrates which, although they make up 95% of all the species on the planet, are still a relatively unknown part of the animal world. To this effect, and in accordance with the New Zoo Model, Alarcon announced the creation of an Invertebrate House in the Zoo, which has already been designed and could become a reality by 2020.
This New Zoo Model also aims to become a benchmark for conservation in the Mediterranean with the creation of a Centre for Marine Biodiversity, which aims to challenge the current lack of knowledge about marine life and help protect it in the most effective way possible.
Three awards were presented during the ceremony in recognition of the work done by professionals and institutions to conserve biodiversity. The outstanding professional career award was won by Martí Boada, PhD in Environmental Sciences, geographer and naturalist. He is a member of the Spanish Committee for the United Nations Environment Programme, the Communication and Education Commission of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) and the UN's Global 500 Environmental Forum.
Antoni Arrizabalaga, director of the Granollers Natural Sciences Museum, collected an award on behalf of his institution in recognition of the work and studies done there to protect our biodiversity and its dissemination through exhibitions. And last, the award for communication was presented to the spokesperson José Luis Gallego, who has worked in many different media outlets and is one of the most influential figures on environmental matters.
10 years of conservation projects
Barcelona Zoo’s main mission is to play an active role in conservation, scientific research and dissemination regarding wildlife and their natural habitats. To this effect, the ambitious Research and Conservation Programme has been running for the last decade. It provides support for applied research and the conservation of species, some of which would otherwise be highly endangered or extinct.
• the “Crio zoo”, a conservation project based on molecular genetics that aims to create a gene bank for all species.
• the project to take urgent measures to conserve the white-collared mangabey, a primate whose population has been halved in recent decades, coordinated from the Zoo by Dr. Maria Teresa Abelló
• and the project to reintroduce the dorcas gazelle in Senegal, one of the most highly endangered species there, run by the Zoo in collaboration with the CSIC.
Another reintroduction project is the conservation of the Mallorcan midwife toad in the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range of Mallorca. This is small toad that is native to the island and is almost extinct. It is being bred at the Zoo's facilities and over 1,000 individuals have already been released into their natural habitat. The Rorqual project also focuses on the Mediterranean area. This is a study of whale populations in the Catalan sea, with special emphasis on the Rorqual whale, and is the only study of its kind on the migration of these whales along the Garraf coastline.
The Montseny brook newt and its LIFE project is a similar case to the Mallorcan midwife toad. This is a species native to the Montseny massif which would very likely have disappeared by now were it not for this project. Two further conservation projects in Catalonia involve the shrike and the cinereous vulture. Although they are two very different initiatives, they have both succeeded in preventing the extinction of these birds.
And last, the project to develop the Amphibian Observatory in the Empordà marshland was also highlighted at the event. This group of animals is one of the most vulnerable to climate change and is one of ICUN’s biggest concerns.
10 years of PRIC grants
The Research and Conservation Programme (PRIC) grants were launched with the aims of continually improving animal welfare, contributing to conservation and research, producing high-quality science and disseminating scientific practice, among others. These grants are awarded annually by the Barcelona Zoo Foundation and 92 selected projects have received a total €772,242 in grants during this first decade of existence. This figure is 30% of Barcelona Zoo Foundation’s total direct expenditure on supporting initiatives and fostering on-site research and conservation projects, which has totalled €2.5 million over the last ten years.
On Biodiversity Night, five projects representing those that have been awarded grants during this decade were presented by their authors, all linked to on-site conservation.
• A study on food ecology to conserve the Iberian Lynx, by Dr. Germán Garrote (Conservation Biology Institute)
• Monitoring the canopy insects of the Collserola mountain range, by Dr. Jorge Mederos (Barcelona Museum of Natural Sciences)
• Monitoring the population of the European polecat in Catalonia with the aim of defining conservation measures, by Salvador Salvador (University of Girona)
• Study of the wildcat population in Catalonia, by Marc Vilella (Osona Naturalist Group / Catalan Institute of Natural History)
• Conservation of the West African chimpanzee in Fouta Jallon (Senegal), by Federico Bocdánovich, Managing Director of the Jane Goodall Institute
New Conservation and Research videos
Three new videos on conservation and research, produced by Barcelona Zoo, were presented during the ceremony. The Mallorcan Midwife Toad, The Insects of Collserola and Monitoring Rorqual Whales in the Mediterranean.
Click on these links to watch these Barcelona Zoo videos posted on YouTube