Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wild ferrets are spreading throughout the island of La Palma

14.04.2010
Scientists from the Canary Islands have compiled data on wild ferrets in La Palma and the damage they cause in the ecosystem, to confirm that the island is the one with the highest number of naturalised animals in the archipelago. The Canarian government permits rabbit hunting using ferrets, an ancient and common practice that has its disadvantages when the ferrets escape or are released into the wild.

In the Canaries more than 20, 000 ferrets (Mustela furo) are kept in captivity, and the number of hunting licences in 2007 was 9552. La Palma is the island with the lowest number of ferret licences (531) on the archipelago. However, "the number of naturalised animals is much higher than expected", Félix M. Medina, main author of the study and researcher in the Environmental Ministry of the Island Council of La Palma, points out to SINC.

In the study, performed in collaboration with the University of La Laguna and recently published in the journal Oryx, the researchers gathered all the analysis done on the Canary Islands and contributed 45 new observations –carried out between 1998 and 2007- on wild ferrets, alive or dead, in 28 towns on the island of La Palma.

Nowadays, "the species seems to be widely distributed in the north of the island, with a seemingly isolated population in the centre", the scientist describes.

After observing a couple with three babies in 2007, Félix M. Medina now confirms the reproduction of these animals in the natural environment. The investigation also demonstrates that the abundance and distribution of ferrets are "directly related to the availability of these prey, as well as the availability of other kinds of food and shelter which they find in the rural and cultivated areas of La Palma".

The team made the observations in wooded areas of Canarian pine forests or monteverde, and in cultivated rural areas, "which is in line with the general behaviour of ferrets, because in these areas rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are very abundant", the researcher explains.

Between January and April 2006, scientists carried out a preliminary control of wild ferrets due to the damage they were causing on some farms. They set 36 live capture traps in Las Tricias, to the south-east of La Palma. Between August and November that year, they set traps in other towns and, in total, captured 10 specimens.

Negative effects on the fauna

Although the scientists indicate that "the effect of wild ferrets on the native fauna of the island is currently unknown", it is likely that it could "negatively" affect various species of birds that breed on the ground. This is the case with the laurel pigeon (Columba junoniae) and the Eurasian woodcock (Scolopax rusticola). Ferrets could also hunt subspecies of endemic lizards Gallotia galloti palmae. "There is need for greater awareness of this problem in the public authorities, as well as tightening the law, controlling and penalizing the use of ferrets without a muzzle, in addition to launching information campaigns, especially amongst hunters, to reduce the risk on native species", Medina confirms.

References:

Medina, Félix M.; Martín, Aurelio. "A new invasive species in the Canary Islands: a naturalized population of ferrets Mustela furo in La Palma Biosphere Reserve" Oryx 44(1): 41-44 enero de 2010.

SINC | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helping in spite of risk: Ants perform risk-averse sanitary care of infectious nest mates

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Fraunhofer ISE Supports Market Development of Solar Thermal Power Plants in the MENA Region

21.02.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

A variety of designs for OLED lighting in one easy kit

21.02.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>