Evolution of the project Life Tritó Montseny
The project in Italy
15/07/2021 11:43 h.
The project is disseminated within the final event of the Italian Life WetFlyAmphibia project
The coordinator of Life Tritó Montseny, Daniel Guinart, participated in the final event of the Life WetFlyAmphibia project, which took place on 11, 12 and 13 July in northern Italy, specifically in the National Park Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna. During the three days of the Italian project, different visits and conferences were held around the world of amphibians and butterflies, among them, the one corresponding to Life Tritó Montseny.
Sunday 11 July was devoted to popular events, including a thematic excursion and a floristic workshop in the Botanical Garden of Valbonella. In the evening, the naturalist, photographer and TV presenter Emanuele Biggi gave a lecture on amphibians. His presentation was followed by a musical shadow theatre show for children and adults.
On the following day, Monday 12 July, the technical day took place, during which the results of the Life WetFlyAmphibia project were presented. Four other Life projects related to the world of amphibians were presented. In this space, Daniel Guinart, coordinator of Life Tritó Montseny, was able to explain the progress of the project and share discussions with other technicians from European Life projects. The day concluded with the screening of the documentary "Y Pionieri della Terraferma", by Paolo Sodi.
Finally, and as a conclusion to the conference, on Tuesday 13 July, a technical visit was made to the actions carried out in the National Park. It was a good opportunity to exchange experiences in the improvement of amphibian habitats. You can consult the programme in this link.
During the course of the Life Tritó Montseny project, we had the opportunity to share experiences and knowledge with the Life WetFlyAmphibia project. The first contact was at the end of August 2019, when we travelled to Italy, specifically to the National Park Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona e Campigna with the aim of getting to know the amphibian conservation projects Life WetFlyAmphibia and LIFE Aunwauen Amphibian and also the LIFE GoProFor based on the good practices of the Life projects.
The second contact with the coordinators of these projects was in October 2019, when they came to visit the Montseny Natural Park and Biosphere Reserve (included in the Natura 2000 network) with the aim of learning about the actions carried out in the framework of the Life Tritó Montseny project.
The main objective of the project is to improve the conservation status of amphibian and butterfly populations in the wetland habitats of the Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona e Campigna National Park.
The amphibian and butterfly species of the area present a patchy distribution due to several disturbance and threat factors, mainly due to the alteration and reduction of their habitats and breeding sites.
The project therefore proposes to carry out several conservation actions aimed at curbing the threats to the amphibian and butterfly populations of the wetlands. These actions consist mainly in the reinforcement of populations and the restoration of wetlands that have been greatly reduced over time (with a consequent reduction of related species). The restoration of these environments not only provides the physical realisation of wetlands, it also provides the management (through vegetation restoration) of these areas to bring back some habitats that are currently in a process of decline.
22/07/2021 02:00 h.
Seven young people worked on water issues in the Montseny Natural Park and Biosphere Reserve
From 11 to 17 July, the Vincles Foundation organised a stay of seven young people in Viladrau, entitled "Joves Talents i Aigua" (Young Talents and Water), so that they could get to know and discover the problems of water in the Montseny Natural Park and Biosphere Reserve. Promoted by Project Wet and tutored by the Fundación Vínculos, with a long experience in environmental education, the result at the end of the week was the presentation of a project to explain to primary school pupils a topic related to water, its management and its problems.
The stay began with the presentation of inspirational documents, individual work, didactic methodology, the creation of work teams and a guided tour on Monday 12th July. On Tuesday morning, the participants first went to Aigua de Viladrau and then visited a stream in the Montseny Natural Park and Biosphere Reserve. Technicians from the Park explained the main objectives of its management and public use, with special emphasis on the Life Tritó Montseny project and the actions that have been carried out to preserve the species and the habitat. Thus, the ranger in charge of data collection explained the physical characteristics of Montseny streams and how these data are collected.
The stay continued on Tuesday with a lunch with Turisme Montseny and in the afternoon with a scientific picnic with the organisation Pèndulum. Wednesday 14th they conceptualised proposals and made exchanges and improvements. In the afternoon they had an external and complementary vision with Marc Ordeix, David Soler, Jus López, J. Manel Riera and Margarida Feliu before sharing. Thursday 15th they carried out a practical experience on the state of a river, with design and simulation tests and they made a guided tour of the Matagalls, looking west. Friday was the turn to produce models and quids, hold a forum for sharing, revision and improvement and have a farewell dinner before presenting the resulting projects on Saturday morning, 17th.
The Fundació Vincles, participació, educació i sostenibilitat is a non-profit cultural charity, created by a group of professionals and other people linked to education, leisure and sustainability. The Water Young Talent scholarships are part of the WET (Water Education Today) project, endorsed by UNESCO and the International Hydrological Programme and in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
4 years of exposure
23/07/2021 12:30 h.
Almost 21,000 people have visited the project's exhibition since its inauguration
Since May 2017, the exhibition "My name is Calotriton and I only live in Montseny" has travelled to different towns and places in Catalonia to show aspects of the biology and ecology of the Montseny newt (Calotriton arnoldi), endemic to the Montseny Natural Park and Biosphere Reserve and considered the most endangered amphibian in Western Europe.
During these four years of itinerancy, a total of 20,712 people have visited the exhibition, which has passed through thirty municipalities in the counties of Girona and Barcelona, including seventeen of the eighteen that make up the Park. With the exception of Sant Feliu de Buixalleu. The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented it from moving for the time being.
"My name is Calotriton and I only live in Montseny" consists of nine roll-up panels with the contents in Catalan and a scale model of a newt from Montseny, accompanied by small panels with texts in Spanish and English. In addition to disseminating the particularities of the amphibian, the actions carried out within the Life Tritó Montseny project to improve its critical state of conservation are also on display.
In parallel, complementary activities related to the exhibition have been carried out, such as conferences, school visits and visits for the general public.
The exhibition is scheduled to start touring again in autumn. It will do so in the municipal libraries of the Maresme region, which are very popular and which will give a new impetus to the dissemination of the reality of the Montseny newt and reach a greater number of visitors.
Bathing not allowed
15/07/2021 10:34 h.
The aim is to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases that cause death to amphibians.
The Montseny Natural Park and Biosphere Reserve has signposted the accesses to the main rivers, streams and pools with 'No bathing allowed' signs (according to Decree 148/92, article 6.2). The reason is to avoid the possibility of bathers transmitting infectious diseases that cause death to amphibians, especially to protect the Montseny newt (Calotriton arnoldi), an endemic species in danger of extinction. Thus, this summer we ask for respect and civility when visiting rivers and streams. The rangers of the Natural Park together with other security forces will work to maximize vigilance in these areas.
In recent years there has been a notable decline in amphibian populations worldwide and 41% of known species are threatened (International Union for Conservation of Nature, 2020). One of the main factors causing this decline is infectious diseases caused by fungi, viruses or other pathogens, which can lead to massive deaths of individuals. Chytridiomycosis and infection by ranavirus are the infectious diseases detected that seriously affect amphibians.
The objective of Life Tritó Montseny is to preserve the species and its habitat. The entry of pathogens causing these deadly diseases is a serious threat to the wild populations of this unique species as well as to other amphibian species present.
When visiting an area where these pathogens are present, spores can be transported from one place to another through clothing (especially if it is damp or wet), in mud accumulated on shoes or on salt licks, or even with the hands if they have been in contact with an infected individual. Due to the ease of transmission of these ailments, great care must be taken during activities in inland aquatic environments (rivers, streams and pools).
For this reason, in the main pools, rivers and streams of Montseny, the administration of the Natural Park asks for sensitivity when visiting these environments and not to bathe in rivers, streams, pools or ponds. The riverside habitats are very sensitive natural environments whose conservation is a priority and human recreational activities can deteriorate these areas.
The regulations of the 1977 Montseny Special Plan, in article 33, prohibits bathing outside the authorized places, and also Decree 148/1992, article 6.2, regulates that authorization is required for bathing in natural areas of special protection.
Likewise, the Life Tritó Montseny project has worked on the drafting of a manual of good practices with recommendations for environmental education activities and safe discovery of the streams.
14/07/2021 08:16 h.
328 specimens of Montseny newts are released in their natural habitat
The constant work of all the breeding centres has made it possible this spring 2021 to reintroduce 60 juveniles and 268 larvae of this species into their natural habitat in different streams. These specimens were born in the breeding centres of the Barcelona Zoo and the Generalitat de Catalunya - the Torreferrussa and Pont de Suert Wildlife Centres.
This reintroduction, which took place in the framework of the Life Tritó Montseny project, was carried out at the end of May and beginning of June, and is in addition to the one carried out last year, in which 235 more individuals were released (see chronicle here), and its success is reflected in the fact that since 2010 almost 1,500 newts have been left in their natural habitat, in six different streams.
The aim of the conservation programme is, on the one hand, to maintain a genetic reservoir in the breeding centres to guarantee the future of the species in the face of the critical situation of the original populations in the wild and, on the other hand, to increase their area of distribution by releasing specimens into new streams. Thanks to this reintroduction programme, free-ranging breeding of the species has multiplied in recent years.
It is also essential to carry out continuous monitoring of the introduced population once they are already living in the wild. These reintroductions involve coordination work between different institutions and scientists, to ensure that the stream where the animals are released meets the requirements of the species, and also to properly select the individuals, ensuring that they have the genetic variability necessary to establish a healthy population.
An endemic amphibian in a situation of extreme vulnerability
The first populations of this species, the only endemic vertebrate in Catalonia, were discovered in 1980 but were attributed to the Pyrenean newt species. Later, in 2005, morphological studies concluded that it is a species in its own right, the Montseny newt, with two subspecies, the eastern and western. The species only lives in a few stretches of 7 streams, which are arranged linearly and do not exceed 3.5 km in length. Therefore, the danger of extinction is very high.
Montseny newt. Photo: Iñaki Relanzón
The centres that breed newts, key to their survival
As part of the coordinated work between different institutions to safeguard the species, 2007 saw the start of a captive breeding programme for the species at the Torreferrussa Wildlife Centre, which depends on the Generalitat de Catalunyaa and is located in Santa Perpètua de la Mogoda. In 2013, due to a situation of high vulnerability to problems that the species could suffer in captivity, Barcelona Zoo joined the coordinated breeding programme. Shortly afterwards, a third breeding centre, also belonging to the Generalitat and located in Pont de Suert, joined the programme, as well as Chester Zoo in England.
Torreferrussa breeding centre. Photo: Iñaki Relanzón