Scaling up rewilding in Portugal

May 17, 2019

Exciting times for rewilding in Western Iberia, with a new five-year initiative combining two, complementary project funds – “LIFEWolFlux” and “Scaling Up Rewilding in Western Iberia” – starting at the beginning of this year.

Faia Brava, Côa Valley, Western Iberia, Portugal, Europe, Rewilding Europe
Faia Brava, Côa Valley, Western Iberia.

An inaugural two-day meeting in Guarda, Portugal, saw members of Rewilding Europe, ATNatureza, Zoo Logical and the University of Aveiro come together to discuss unified actions and strategy for scaling up rewilding in the Greater Côa Valley, part of the Western Iberia rewilding area.

A new five-year initiative combines two complementary project funds – “LIFEWolFlux” and “Scaling Up Rewilding in Western Iberia” – starting at the beginning of this year. The aim of the former is to boost the connectivity of the Portuguese wolf sub-population south of the Douro River, while the latter will see funding from the Endangered Landcapes Programme (ELP) used to develop the Greater Côa Valley as a 120,000-hectare (1200 square-kilometre) wildlife corridor.


A beacon for rewilding

Participants Kick Off Meeting. From left to right: Carlos Pacheco, Duarte Cadete, Pedro Prata, Rita Torres, Deli Saavedra, Sara Aliácar, Carlos Fonseca, Sara Pinto, Eduardo Ferreira, Marta Calix, Maria Betteghella, Chiara Bruni, João Carvalho.

On March 26 and 27, members of both project teams (from Rewilding EuropeATNaturezaZoo Logicaland the University of Aveiro) met at the headquarters of the recently established Rewilding Portugal association in Guarda, a town located in the Greater Côa Valley. Participating in a two-day workshop and training session, they reviewed the actions of both projects, agreeing on steps to be taken over the next few months and an activities plan for the first year.

“The meeting was both inspirational and productive,” says Pedro Prata, Rewilding Portugal team leader. “Our achievements during these two days demonstrate how all partners are committed to making the Greater Côa Valley a beacon for rewilding, both in Western Iberia and across Europe.”


Working with local stakeholders

The aim of the LIFE WolFlux project – which is funded by the European Commission and set to be coordinated by Rewilding Portugal – is to ensure the viability of the wolf population south of the Douro River, and promote the co-existence of people and Iberian wolves by working with local stakeholders. Project partners will cooperate to identify the main threats to the local wolf sub-population to secure its viability, and reduce human-wolf conflict where possible.

During the meeting in Guarda numerous actions were planned, including setting up and running a monitoring system, the reintroduction of roe deer to increase the availability of wild prey, and ensuring effective damage prevention measures to reduce wolf predation on livestock.

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