Publication details.


Author(s):F. Sergio, A. Taferna, J. Chicano, J. Blas, G. Tavecchia, F. Hiraldo
Title:Protected areas under pressure: decline, redistribution, local eradication and projected extinction of a threatened predator, the red kite, in Doñana National Park, Spain
Journal:Endangered Species Research
JCR Impact Factor:2.258
Abstract:ABSTRACT: After a period of overfocus on the establishment of reserves, attention is increasinglybeing devoted to the capability of protected areas to maintain viable populations of endangeredspecies. Here, we examined the trends and reproduction of the red kite Milvus milvus, a highlyendangered raptor near-endemic to Europe, to illustrate the dual benefits and challenges faced bya national park to protect this iconic species. Over the past 4 decades, the kite population of south-ern Spain has declined steeply and has become progressively confined to Doñana National Parkand its buffering Natural Park areas. Population deterioration was also evident within the pro-tected area through (1) spikes of rapid eradication of whole sub-populations from buffer areas,likely propelled by illegal poisoning, and (2) more gradual but steady deterioration of numbersand reproduction, especially in peripheral buffer areas, probably caused by the interplay of sev-eral shocks related to food availability, habitat degradation, competition, predation, and chemicalcontamination. The result was a 46−55% decline with progressive confinement to the core Nat -ional Park and an alarming effective population size of <10 pairs. Demographic modelling sug-gested low adult survival and predicted further declines, with possible extinction over the next 2decades. We outline tentative goals for management, but these will need urgent information onranging and mortality to provide more efficient targets. These results illustrate how establishmentof a large park can prevent regional extinction, but not necessarily guarantee species-safety, lead-ing to protracted forms of extinction debt. We suspect that similar dynamics will become morewidespread as anthropogenic pressures increase around protected areas and their performancemonitoring becomes more prevalent.

Related staff

  • Giacomo Tavecchia
  • Related departments

  • Animal and Microbial Biodiversity
  • Related research groups

  • Ecology and Evolution