A mesocarnivore monitoring project carried out by the Felis Group of the Catalan Institute of Natural History (ICHN) and the Barcelona Zoo Foundation has managed to capture images that confirm the presence of a specimen of the European tern in the Val d'Aran ( Lleida), marking a milestone by seeing this species in danger of extinction for the first time in more than five decades.
This exciting discovery is the result of a project that has established more than thirty monitoring stations throughout Catalonia, each equipped with 12 tracking cameras, according to Barcelona City Council in a statement issued this Sunday.
The European polecat (Mustela putorius, in Latin) is listed as an endangered species in the new Catalog of Endangered Fauna of Catalonia, occupying the highest threat category in this catalogue. This classification places it as "the most endangered carnivorous mammal in the fauna of Catalonia."
In the last three decades, the presence of this species had decreased drastically in the autonomous community, where until now they had been sighted in the plains of Empordà and, to a limited extent, at the headwaters of the Ter river, in Ripollès. In response to this worrying trend, the Generalitat, the Fundació Barcelona Zoo and the Associació Trenca came together in 2018 to form the TuroCat project.
One of the fundamental pillars of this project is the reintroduction of the European polecat in areas where it had become extinct and the strengthening of its population in regions where specimens can still be found.
This sighting in the Val d'Aran represents a significant step towards the recovery and conservation of this endangered species in Catalonia.