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Participation in the II International European Rabbit Congress
21 November 2011

Invited by the LIFE+ Project “ Conservation of Mediterranean forest priority species in Castilla-La Mancha” (LIFE Priorimancha), LPN’s technicians of the LIFE Habitat Lince Abutre project participated in the II International European Rabbit Congress to talk about Lynx Programme’s contribute through LIFE – Nature Programme in the recovery of wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus).

The meeting took place in the city of Toledo, at the University Campus of ‘Fábrica de Armas’ (Weapons’ Factory), where during two days 23 oral presentations and two poster sessions, focusing the biology, ecology, genetics, sanitary features and management techniques of wild rabbits’ populations and its habitats. It was also discussed the importance of the wild rabbit under the scope of priority species’ conservation, in a round table that counted with the participation of delegates from the hunting and environment sectors and a local landowner.

The oral communication presented by LPN consisted in a description of its LIFE – Nature projects with actions targeted at the recovery and conservation of wild rabbit local populations. Therefore, it were presented the actions and results obtained in the LIFE Lince Moura/Barrancos project – occurred between 2006 and 2010 and distinguished as one of the “Best of the Best” LIFE – Nature projects in 2010 – and in LIFE Habitat Lince Abutre, which, in part, enabled to continue the previous project and that is being implemented in partnership with several entities representing diverse areas (nature conservation, game hunting, agriculture, veterinary and social sciences).

Oral communication about the LIFE Habitat Lince Abutre project

This meeting, which gathered about 300 people, revealed to be a great opportunity to disclosure LIFE Habitat Lince Abutre to an audience mainly Spanish, and allowed the discussion (with researchers and technicians that for decades have been working in projects targeting wild rabbits conservation and management) of measures as well as sharing information, methodologies, results and conclusions useful to the development of this project.

The invited speakers also had the opportunity to participate in a guided visit to an estate located inside the National Park of Cabañeros, where several measures for wild rabbits’ increase have been implemented under the framework of LIFE Priorimancha, namely the construction of several types of artificial shelters and pastures.

Artificial shelters for wild rabbit constructed in the scope of the project LIFE Priorimancha
This area was restocked with wild rabbit – therefore, a fence was implemented around the artificial shelters in the first two weeks to avoid wild rabbits’ immediate dispersal
Other types of artificial shelters for wild rabbit
(‘majano’ – artificial shelter made of rocks, on the left, and artificial shelter of tubes ‘Boscaje’, on the right)

The team of LIFE Habitat Lince Abutre is very grateful for the invitation to participate in this Congress, as well as for the hospitality with which it was received by the colleagues from LIFE Priorimancha.

LIFE Priorimancha
This project (2009 – 2012) aims to cognize and improve the conservation condition of the Iberian lynx, the Iberian Imperial eagle, the Bonelli’s eagle and the black vulture in Castilla-La Mancha. For that, this project is being developed in public and private estates, to increase the feeding resources of the target species, mainly the wild rabbit, reduce the existent threatens and apply conservation plans addressed to these species.

LIFE Habitat Lince Abutre & the enhancement of wild rabbit populations by habitat management
To enhance the populations of wild rabbit that exist in the project’s intervention area, several measures of habitat management are being implemented, such as, for example, the fertilization of pastures to increase their productivity. Soon, beetle banks in the margin of cultivated fields and fences around shelters of wild rabbit will also be implemented.