The Official State Gazette (BOE) has published the Ministerial order which modifies the annex of Royal Decree 139/2011 that develops the List of Wild Species in Special Protection Regime and the Spanish Catalog of Endangered Species, to include in these records 27 species of threatened fauna and flora in Spain.

In this way, the Government increases the level of legal protection of these species, as reflected in the law of Natural Heritage and Biodiversity for those species of fauna and flora that, due to their ecological value, uniqueness, rarity, or degree of threat, or because they are included in international treaties or community norms, should be subject to special attention and require active conservation measures.

In this sense, it should be noted that the inclusion of a species in this list and catalog requires administrations to monitor their conservation status and the threats that affect them. For the species included in the catalog, in addition, concrete action plans must be executed for their conservation or recovery.

Among these new 27 species there are terrestrial and marine. In relation to marine species, the Mediterranean populations of the black sponge, of seven species of coral (black, branched black, black orange, Mediterranean black, hard and fragile white coral and weak coral), are included in the list. two of gorgonians (the fan and the candelabra) and the Mediterranean madrepora. These invertebrates have a high ecological interest because over the years their large colonies form complex habitats that are very important as a refuge for many other marine species.

Also included in the listing is the olive sea turtle, a species present in the Canary Islands and also cited in the Mediterranean; the Cinderella Atlantic Shearwater, now also in the Mediterranean, and the Mediterranean population of the Bengali Tern.

For its part and following with marine species, the catalog "endangered" is included, the common nacre, and in the category "Vulnerable", the Canarian populations of three species of marine algae (the yellow, red and yellow black), the latter endemic to these islands.

Three species of sharks

Three species of sharks are also included: the angelfish, the angelfish and the spiny angelfish, all of them "in danger of extinction". The angels are flat sharks of nocturnal habits that reproduce in the bays and shallow waters of our coasts and are buried in the sand. They have practically disappeared from our peninsular waters and are the second most threatened group of sharks in the world. The serious threats they suffer from climate change, the destruction of their habitat, pollution or illegal trawling justify their special protection.

Finally, the Catalog in the category "Vulnerable" is included, the Cuvier's beaked whale, a species of ballenate adapted to live in great depths that has undergone a significant population reduction in recent years, which is why it is necessary to increase its protection.

As regards terrestrial species, the Iberian sulfur butterfly, a rare butterfly exclusive to Spain located only in two small and isolated populations (Los Monegros, Aragón and La Hoya de Baza, Andalusia), is included in the catalog "endangered". ; and the batueca lizard, one of the rarest continental reptiles in Europe, of which it is estimated that no more than 1,500 individuals survive and only in Las Batuecas and La Peña de Francia (Salamanca-Cáceres). It is also included in the catalog, but in the "vulnerable" category, the lizard of Leon.

In the group of mammals, the catalog of the "vulnerable" category includes the Cabrera topillo, an exclusive rodent from the Iberian Peninsula, which lives in low meadows and reeds, a type of habitat that is strongly regressed by the increase in the intensification of agriculture and the frequent location of infrastructures.

Wolf south of the Duero, special protection

Finally, in order to comply with the provisions of the European Union's Habitats Directive, all Iberian wolf populations existing in Spain south of the Douro are included in the list.

In the Habitats Directive, Spanish wolf populations are included in two annexes, with two different protection regimes, due to their different state of conservation: those located north of the Duero in Annex V (species that can be managed) ; and those located south of the Duero (Extremadura, Andalusia, Madrid, Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha), in Annex IV (strictly protected).

To date only the wolf populations south of the Douro River of Extremadura, Andalusia and Castilla-La Mancha were included in the list. With the approval of this ministerial order, the range of distribution of the species south of the Douro River already enjoys special protection.

According to the last census of the wolf in Spain, carried out in 2014 by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition (MITECO) and the autonomous communities, there were around 300 wolf packs, representing between 2,000 and 2,500 wolves, distributed mainly in the north of the Duero, while to the south they were estimated in 30 herds.

The MITECO together with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) and the autonomous communities work actively to promote the coexistence of human activities and the conservation of the wolf and other carnivores. Among these state initiatives, the MITECO elaborates a catalog of preventive measures aimed at mitigating the conflict between the wolf and extensive livestock. For its part, the MAPA has an Agrarian Insurance Plan that covers compensation for damages caused to those farmers who have subscribed the corresponding policies.

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