Wetlands of Spain’s Doñana are drying up

Spain's wetlands are drying up
Spain's wetlands are drying up. Image: Josema Gomez/Shutterstock.com

Climate change along with record-high temperatures is drying up the vital wetlands of Spain’s Doñana nature reserve.

A report published in the Associated Press on Wednesday, November 8, states that the national park home to Doñana’s Santa Olalla lagoons had dried up by August this year. Ecologists, according to the report, are now fearing that the ecosystem that existed due to the wetlands may vanish for good.

Doñana Santa Olalla lagoon was the largest of a small group of lagoons that kept some water year-round, serving as a summer reservoir for aquatic plants and animals.

“The solution should have come at least 20 years ago but nothing was done. The environment always loses against the economy,” said Díaz, a researcher for the Spanish National Research Council in a quote published in the report. He further added that Doñana has been the crown jewel of Spain because it is an emblematic park, ¨we are letting it slip away”, he said.

The natural reserve covers 74,000 hectares and is located on an estuary where the Guadalquivir River meets the Atlantic Ocean (182,000 acres). The reserve was established in the 1960s with the assistance of the environmental organization WWF.

A wintering site for 500,000 waterfowl and a stopover for millions more birds migrating from Africa to northern Europe, the reserve is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Habitat and Biosphere Reserve.

It is also home to five threatened bird species, including the endangered Spanish imperial eagle. Aside from this, the natural reserve is also a breeding-and-rescue centre for the endangered Iberian lynx.

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