Font Major, the Conselleria de Medi Ambient of the Balearic Government and the Barcelona Zoo join efforts to protect the ferreret
The Recovery Centre of the public estate of Planícia (Mallorca) received 57 specimens from Barcelona that were released into the wild
This year, Font Major has joined the project for the conservation and protection of the ferreret, a species of amphibian in danger of extinction that lives in the natural pools of the torrents of the Serra de Tramuntana, together with the Conselleria de Medi Ambient of the Balearic Government and the Barcelona Zoo.
On 28 July, Miquel Mir, Minister for the Environment and Territory of the Government of the Balearic Islands, Sito Alarcón, Director of the Barcelona Zoo, and Juan Antonio López Abadía, Director of Environment of Font Major, visited the Ferreret (Majorcan midwife toad) Recovery and Breeding Centre at the Planícia public estate in Banyalbufar (Mallorca), where 57 ferreret specimens bred at the Zoo's facilities arrived and were subsequently released into the wild.
López Abadía stressed that "the conservation of biodiversity is part of Font Major's environmental commitment". Biodiversity is fundamental to the life of the planet and its well-being. That is why "Font Major collaborates with initiatives that promote its conservation and preservation, as is the case of the ferreret, which is a clear bio-indicator of the health of the ecosystem, as well as the quality of the water".
For his part, Mir said he was "very satisfied with the results of the conservation programme for one of Mallorca's most emblematic species". In this sense, he thanked all the participants for their involvement and work. He also stressed "the vital importance of collaboration between the administration and scientific institutions for the conservation of biodiversity".
Barcelona Zoo started the ferreret conservation project in 1993. Since then more than 1,500 specimens have been born in its facilities, 95% of which have been handed over to the Mallorcan authorities for reintroduction. These data show the success of the project, which, as its director recalled, has achieved that "of a species that was considered extinct and only had a fossil record, today there are stabilised populations in their natural habitat".
Alarcón added that "projects such as this one are key within the New Zoo Model, which strengthens the work carried out with native fauna, becoming a benchmark in terms of the conservation of Mediterranean fauna, especially threatened by climate change". The ferreret reintroduction project is a clear example of how the Zoo leaves its facilities to get involved, in situ, in the conservation of a species endemic to the Mediterranean ecosystem.
The ferreret (or Balearic toad)
The ferreret (Alytes muletensis) is an endangered endemic species that naturally only lives in the natural pools of the streams of the Serra de Tramuntana. It was described in 1977 on fossil remains, but it was not until 1980, when it was found alive in the Serra de Tramuntana.
Since 1985, ferreret conservation measures have been carried out, including captive breeding and release, removal of introduced predators, habitat restoration and the creation of new populations. Since 1991, an annual larval census has been carried out continuously in all known localities.
The latest annual ferreret count of 2020 ended with a total of 30,787 tadpoles, a number similar to the previous two years, when 29,314 and 29,672 tadpoles were counted, respectively. The population shows an upward trend with variations due to weather factors or the presence of predators, among others.
The Species Protection Service monitors the different populations between June and August, when there are more tadpoles. The work focuses on counting tadpoles in their natural pools and cisterns where this species lives.