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A quantitative assessment of the release of farm-reared red-legged partridges (Alectoris rufa) for hunting in central Spain

AuthorsCaro, Jesús ; Vicente, Joaquín ; Delibes-Mateos, Miguel ; Gortázar, Christian ; Arroyo, Beatriz ; Viñuela, Javier
Issue Date2012
CitationInternational Conference on Hunting for Sustainability (2012)
AbstractThe red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa) is the main small-game species in Spain, where several million partridges are harvested every year. Spanish partridge populations have markedly declined over recent decades (e.g. >50% between 1973 and 1992), mainly as a consequence of changes in agricultural practices and overhunting. This population decline has led to an increase in the use of some management activities such as the release of farm-reared game or predator control. Recent studies indicate that releases of farm-reared partridges threaten the integrity of the wild partridge population gene pool and pose a risk to wild populations by introducing parasites, which can threaten other species of conservation concern such as the little bustard (Tetrax tetrax). However, the information regarding the release of farm-reared partridges is still very scarce. We aimed to quantitatively assess the release of farm-reared partridges in the province of Ciudad Real (central Spain), one of the main hunting areas in Spain. In particular, we were interested in evaluating: i) the number of hunting estates that perform releases in this province; ii) the number of partridges released both in total and in each translocation; iii) the date when this management activity takes place. We analyzed the official permits that the regional government granted to the hunting estates to release farm-reared partridges between 2009 and 2011 (n=2011). Our results showed that the destination of captive-reared partridges was mainly traditional small-game areas located in the south-east of the province of Ciudad Real. Only 9 % of the small hunting estates within the province officially released partridges in the study period. The average number of partridge released per permit was 18.140 (SD=24.225; range: 12-80.000). Overall, 3.809.477 farm-reared partridges were officially released since 2009 to 2011, which means that more than 1.25 million partridges are released annually only in this Spanish province. Interestingly, 90 % of the partridges were released in only 23 hunting estates, and 84% partridges were released from June to September, and only 16% during the regular hunting season (October to January). According to our results, numbers of farm-reared partridges released in central Spain are higher than those obtained in previous estimates; this stresses the importance of this management activity in certain hunting areas of this region. Urgent research is needed to evaluate whether the incidence of releases is similar in other areas, and their global effects on wildlife populations. This would help to better regulate the use of this management activity.
DescriptionResumen del póster presentado a la International Conference on Hunting for Sustainability: "Ecology, Economics and Society", celebrada en Ciudad Real (España) del 27 al 29 de marzo de 2012.
Appears in Collections:(IREC) Comunicaciones congresos
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