Category: Natural World

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

Mogán town council assumes direct management of services on Playa de Mogán

The Mogán Local Council on Friday installed new sun beds and umbrellas on Playa de Mogán, beginning direct management of seasonal services of this popular beach, along with the other six beaches for which it now holds corresponding authorisations: Las Marañuelas, Costa Alegre, Taurito, El Cura, Aquamarina and Patalavaca. Since last summer they have also been in control of direct exploitation of  Puerto Rico and El Perchel beaches.  The majority of these coastal tourism enclaves were managed by private companies who held the concessions, some of which had been in place for decades. 

The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 27-29 January 2023

Tenteniguada Almond Blossom Festival
It’s the last weekend of January and exactly two weeks to go until the 2023 Carnival season starts on Gran Canaria. This weekend will most probably be enjoyed with a drop of wet weather, Sunday being forecast as the rainiest. The southern tourist enclaves look to also see a bit of cloud cover and even a small chance of seeing a few drops of rain. However you look at it, it may be handy to have umbrellas and raincoats around during the days to come. There is even the possibility of some snow on the mountains as we head into next week.

More than half of all Canary Islands properties sold last year were bought by foreigners, more than half of those non-residents

While we still await final figures for the last quarter of 2022, the latest official data from The Canary Islands has shown foreigners are buying more homes in the Canary Islands than ever before. The number of real estate acquisitions by non-residents in the Canary Islands has risen 52% compared to the same period in 2021, and is already 16% higher than the highest ever record set in 2017.

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66 specimens of the Yemen chameleon located on Gran Canaria since 2017

The Canary Islands Ministry of Ecological Transition, Fight against Climate Change and Territorial Planning, through the Canary Islands Early Warning Network for the Detection and Intervention in cases of Invasive Alien Species (RedEXOS) working the public company Gesplan, have, since 2017, located a total of 66 specimens of  Yemen chameleon on Gran Canaria, mainly in the municipality of Arucas.

This invasive species on the islands can pose serious danger to some animals and plants endemic to the Canary Islands and even just possessing them, as with the Californian Kingsnake, among other examples, is illegal throughout the Archipelago, only possible under special license.
These arboreal reptiles being on Gran Canaria is largely due to human actions, and citizen collaboration is essential for their detection and removal from the natural environment. For this reason, RedEXOS has a web portal and a mobile application through which sightings of any species considered invasive can be reported, in addition to calling 646 601 457 or emailing redexos@gobiernodecanarias.org.
This species is native to southwestern Saudi Arabia and Yemen, where it inhabits plateaus of mountainous regions above 2,800 meters, forests and low-lying agricultural fields. About a third of the specimens located on Gran Canaria were female. Their reproductive capacity allows them to lay from 12 to 80 eggs in each clutch, which can be repeated several times a year.

The Yemen chameleon is included in the list of invasive alien species of concern for the outermost region of the Canary Islands by Royal Decree 216/2019, of March 29.

Red de Alerta Temprana/ Early Warning Network
The Network for the Detection and Intervention of Invasive Alien Species in the Canary Islands (RedEXOS) emerged in 2017 as a pilot project of the Government of the Canary Islands with the aim of locating, identifying, analysing, controlling or eradicating new arrivals or populations of invasive alien species (IAS) or with invasive potential, thus preventing their establishment or expansion.
Recently, and as established in art. 14 of Royal Decree 630/2013, of August 2, which regulates the Spanish Catalogue of Invasive Alien Species, officially designates the Canary Islands as the focal point of the State Alert Network, thus creating the Canary Islands Early Alert Network ( Decree 117/2020, of November 19, which deals with the State Alert Network for surveillance of invasive alien species, creates and regulates the Early Warning Network of the Canary Islands for the detection and intervention of invasive alien species).
The management of the platform and interventions by the network’s resources are articulated around citizen participation, encouraging warnings of the presence of any invasive exotic species. Both the web portal and the mobile application use the collaboration of citizens as a key factor to detect any need for action, in such a way that it contributes to raising awareness about the need to preserve our biodiversity. This allows the recording information on the territorial distribution of species and their evolution and monitoring over time.

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Feral cat hunting is to be included in new Canary Islands Biodiversity Law, Spanish Senator complains

Spanish Senator Carles Mulet, a member of the Parliamentary Association in Defense of Animal Rights (APDDA), has denounced to the Central Government a draft of the new Canary Islands Biodiversity Law because he maintains that it includes cats as a species that can be legally hunted.  Feral cat hunting, by hunters with guns, during hunting season has historically been allowed if there is no way to identify the animal has an owner. Consequently many cats in the wild are shot, and many report domestic cats being killed due to misidentification.

In a statement sent this Tuesday, the Compromís parliamentarian also warns that the new regulation, that is intended in its current form to be approved, will require municipalities to eradicate urban feline colonies as well as other modifications that could be harmful to many animals.
In a question that he formulated in writing to the Government, Mullet echoed the complaints of animal protection associations in the Canary Islands, which point out that the new law aims to regulate all cats without visible identification – those that have owners and those who have a chip- if they are in hunting grounds can be hunted.
Likewise, the associations have warned that the future law wants municipalities to avoid and eradicate feral cat colonies, while the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) method does not appear in the text at all, despite being the scientific method of choice, and the most effective , according the animal defenders, for the control of feline populations.
Associations also emphasise that the new law proposes that privately owned ferrets be sterilised, but not those that are in the possession of hunters, which could reproduce uncontrollably when they are lost or are foreseeably abandoned.
The senator has also asked the Government if, in the draft Animal Welfare Law that is being prepared, measures will be included that can guarantee the ethical management of urban feline colonies following the TNR model throughout the Spanish territory.
Mulet is also interested in whether, in the new law from Spain’s central government, if considering feral domestic animals as hunting species could, in fact, be made illegal and it could enforce the application of ethical methods of population control for species by prohibiting, for example, the shooting of goats, as has recently been reported on Tenerife.

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Spectacular El Hierro rockslide caught on camera in The Canary Islands on Monday March 15 2021

A spectacular rockslide has been caught on camera in The Canary Islands, this time on the island of El Hierro, when rocks and debris fell from a high cliff in an area known as El Golfo, located in the municipality of Frontera. The exact site of the rockfall is known as the ‘Fuga de Tibataje’.

It is a very rugged, isolated and uninhabited area on the sweeping western north coast of this western-most island. Fortunately, at the time of the rockslide there were no people in the area and no one has been reported injured. Landslides here can be quite frequent, due to the volcanic and geological formations of the rock structures in the area with sheer cliffs descending from high altitude on this active volcanic island. Residents say they do not remember any similar landslides as spectacular as this one.

In the images recorded by locals in the area large amounts of debris crumbles to the foot of the cliff without any reported damage to nearby homes or the nearest access road.

A similar episode was also caught on camera, last November on a neighbouring island. There an impressive avalanche of rocks also fell from a cliff onto a beach, known as Argaga, on the west coast of the island of La Gomera, in Valle Gran Rey and the rockslide was caught on camera by terrified tourists. More than 1 million visitors came to see and share the video.

In this case, agents were deployed to the scene and a tracking operation initiated to check if anyone could have been trapped behind the debris. Fortunately, no injuries appear to have resulted from the rockfall.
El Hierro is the archipelago’s youngest island and in 2012 was the scene of a major submarine volcanic eruption off the south coast following weeks of seismic swarms caused by thousands of earth tremors.
Spectacular, wild and tranquil, this island still has plenty of volcanic activity and two interpretation centres where you can visit and find out more about the evolution of the Canary Islands, as it happens

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The Canary News

Saharan dust continues to blanket The Canary Islands as we wait for heavy rain to potentially arrive by Sunday

The Calima affecting the archipelago for the last day or so continues this Wednesday, but is expected to begin to dissipate visibly from Thursday, which in turn will deactivate the yellow warning for fine North African dust suspended in the air, along with the yellow warning for strong winds, from about 5pm on Wednesday afternoon.
Two days of calm clear weather are expected to act as a prelude to a radical change in the forecast, according to the Spanish State Meteorological Agency AEMET, starting from the early hours of this Sunday morning, with the arrival of rains that could well be accompanied by storms, if the currently expected formation of a low pressure system between the Canary Islands and the Iberian peninsula continues as forecast by AEMET on their longer-range forecasts.

On Tuesday morning, the Calima unexpectedly caused the cancellation of six flights between La Palma and Tenerife, and another two  from Gran Canaria, as well as the cancellation of the first morning flights from the island of El Hierro,  with the suspended dust on  Monday having affected Lanzarote and Fuerteventura as expected during the afternoon and evening, yesterday the dust cloud extended to the two westernmost islands, which had not been forecast, passing across the south of the central islands on its way towards the Atlantic.
Air pollution measurements in some parts of the western province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife rose up to 900 micrograms of PM10 particles per cubic metre of air, and reduced visibility down to just 1,500 meters, although in most places visibility remained higher than the 3,000-4,500 meters.
In the other capital of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a PM10 particle pollution peak at 3am on Tuesday reached 868 micrograms per cubic metre of air, which reduced as the hours passed, so that by five o’clock in the afternoon, a more restrained, but equally harmful, 191 micrograms per cubic metre of air was measured.
The World Health Organization establish a recommended safe environmental limit of just 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air for daily exposure to PM10 particles, which has been in force since 2005, is, and so the Canary Islands Government Ministry of Health have repeated warnings for citizens to avoid going outside during such strong Calima’s so as not to aggravate conditions or symptoms related to any respiratory diseases, among which they cite asthma and COPD or chronic obstructive disease, which can be made more serious by the airborne dust, which in turn risks increasing admissions to emergency services and even hospital admissions in the worst cases.
The Government recommend keeping doors and windows closed; cleaning dusty surfaces using damp cloths; staying in humid environments and keeping hydrated; as well as avoiding physical exercises outside; and, in case of worsening symptoms, a call to the main 112 emergency services helpline will ensure you receive advice or help should you need it.
The Canary Islands Government is recommending that these precautions should continue to be taken throughout Wednesday, at least until this afternoon, at which time the yellow warnings are expected to be officially deactivated for Calima and strong winds.
The forecast points to visibility once again falling below 3,000 metres, and even with occasional peaks of down to about 1,500 meters, with temperatures similar to yesterday or slightly decreasing, and winds also decreasing in intensity as that the day goes on, but for the first half of the day there will still be intervals of strong wind, particularly on the west and north west of Gran Canaria.
On Tuesday gusts of wind reached speeds of up to 90 kilometers per hour at the highest part of Tenerife, while sustained winds of about 50 kilometers per hour were recorded on Gran Canaria.
The Gran Canaria municipalities of La Aldea de San Nicolás and in Mogán, temperatures in the shade were around 24ºC and even higher in Puerto de Mogan.
With no other active warnings forecast on  Thursday by the Spanish State Meteorology Agency, the suspended dust is expected to continue blanketing the skies of the islands, but already beginning to lessen by the end of Wednesday.
By Friday, the retreating dust haze should leave clear skies, and light winds, still from the east, but changing to blow from the west by the end of the day.
Saturday, in principle, should be a day of transition while we monitor the potential formation of a low pressure system that by early Sunday morning could reach the Canary Archipelago with heavy rainfall accompanied by storms, on both the north slopes and those facing the west.

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The Canary News

The highest summits of Gran Canaria remain closed to traffic due to snow and bad weather

The Cabildo de Gran Canaria announced this Sunday that two roads up to the very highest point on the sub-tropical island, the GC-134 and GC-135, were to remain closed to traffic, for at least one more day, as they were still not deemed as safe, due to adverse weather conditions that have affected the area over recent days and hours.

Snow and hail storms this weekend across the mountainous interior of the island, and in particular at the highest summit, Pico de Las Nieves (Peak of Snows) have meant vehicles traveling through the area are in danger of sliding off the road, as has occurred, while members of the public, it is feared, may suffer falls or other accidents leading to injuries.
The Cabildo has decided this morning to keep roads like these two closed, to help guarantee public safety.

⛔️Recordamos que se mantienen cerradas la GC-134 y GC-135 en la cumbre de Gran Canaria@112canarias @GranCanariaOIAC
— Carreteras GC (@CarreterasGC) February 7, 2021

That all said, a video posted by Guardia Civil agents this morning from the highest point does show several people eager to catch a glimpse of the unusual weather, despite the roads closed to traffic they parked their cars and walked the last km or so up to the top to take a look for themselves, and from what we see here the snow appears to be melting quite quickly.

Esta mañana en el #PozoDeLasNieves #GranCanaria #FelizDomingo#GuardiaCivil #LasPalmas #Canarias #Allidondenosnecesites pic.twitter.com/3ClggmXMV3 — Benemérita Las Palmas (@GC_LasPalmas) February 7, 2021

With no more rain forecast for now, roads to the highest point are expected to officially reopen again from Monday.  Clear blue skies and rising temperatures are forecast to start the week across the island. With highs of 21ºC on the coasts and 15-16ºC in the higher altitude inland areas.

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The Canary News

Pruning and burning at the peaks and inland areas of Gran Canaria

You may see occasional columns of smoke at the summits of Gran Canaria around this time of year, as the Cabildo (island government) carry out pruning and ‘burning heaps’ projects around the the island’s peaks, aimed at preventing the spread of forest fires,  also using the burnt trunks, of non-native Pinus Radiata, the Monterey pine, which were introduced in the 1950s, they are not resistant to fire like the canary islands pine, so they now use these to create earthwork barriers, called wrapping, to help prevent erosion.

Winter is when forest fire crews and the environment agency take advantage of the cooler weather to carry out fire prevention actions, such as prescribed burns, and advise that citizens use this time of year to clean the surroundings of their houses to help protect from fires, as otherwise it can hinder the work of fire crews in the event of a blaze. Home owners in the more mountainous areas are advised to removed debris and weeds from their property boundaries, since the accumulation of dry vegetation offers fire the continuity it needs to expand, as happened in 2019.
The Cabildo environmental and forestry brigades, which carry out their work in public woodlands, have already completed burning and wrapping in the Degollada de Las Palomas area, in the El Huerto nursery, and around the perimeters of Artenara, including the heliport, as well as in Llanos de Ana López in San Mateo and in Monte de Crespo of Valleseco, close to where the 2019 fire originated.
The tasks, which will continue over the coming weeks, involve the preventive pruning of Canary Island pines and Radiatas in order to make it difficult for fire to reach their crowns, which apart from helping to preserve the specimens, slows the potential for the spread of fires. After that, the brigades create burning heaps along with branches and other fallen debris to eliminate this potential wildfire fuel.
These silvicultural tasks aim to leave wild fires without fuel while providing an opportunity for the selective cutting of specimens with signs of disease or weakness, especially in areas with an excessive concentration of trees. Likewise, the Radiata pines affected by the fires, that are still standing despite being dead, are cut down to avoid the risks associated with their falling due to strong winds or any other cause.
These trunks are then used to stop erosion of the slopes, and are placed perpendicular or to forming V shapes, depending on the terrain and the slope, so that they help retain soil in case of rain and runoff.
These works also clear the ground for new reforestations with Canary Island pine, which encourages this endemic species to gain ground against Radiata, also known as the California pine, a variety with great adaptability and rapid growth that was originally used here in the 1950s to reforest large areas of Gran Canaria, although their resistance to fire is much lower.
 
 

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Search team rescue dogs verify that no-one was caught in La Gomera landslide

Search team rescue dogs have been able to confirm there were no casualties in Saturday’s rockfall.  All residents living near where a massive landslide yesterday afternoon occurred, the area known as Argaga on the west coast of La Gomera island, have now been located, the local Cabildo (island government) has announced, along with all visitors known to have been in the area yesterday where a cliff spectacularly collapsed into the sea.
The search was carried out using specially trained rescue dogs  by the volunteers of the AEA Emergency Rescue Unit, while nearby accommodation in the municipality of Valle Gran Rey was also visited, to locate anyone who might have been at the sandy beach of Playa Las Arenas in Argaga yesterday, part of the neighbouring Vallehermoso municipality but which is accessed along a road from Valle Gran Rey.
Having confirmed that no-one is missing, work in the area will now focus the work on stabilising the cliff face and on seeking alternatives that allow communication in this nucleus of the Vallehermoso municipality.
The collapse occurred yesterday afternoon sparking an emergency operation coordinated by the Island Cabildo, with cooperation from the local councils of Vallehermoso and Valle Gran Rey, Protección Civil, Volunteer Firefighters, Road Maintenance Services, Guardia Civil, Policía Local, Red Cross, the SUC Canary Islands Emergency Service and three GES helicopters.
Evacuations from the area were ordered, the Government of the Canary Islands activated their PLATECA Territorial Emergency Plan for Civil Protection along with several more deployments to the island including the Policía Canaria, the Red Cross, the AEA search team and rescue dogs as well as members of the GES (Grupo de Emergencias y Salvamento de Canarias).

 

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The Canary News

Canarian wines triumph in Italy

Canarian wines achieved notable success in the 2020 Mondial des Vins Extremes CERVIM competition held in the Aosta Valley, Italy at the end of August. A total of 38 medals were won by wine producers participating from the archipelago, 6 Great Gold Medals and 32 Gold Medals, and 6 Special Awards. The large participation from the islands has earned the Canaries the “Mondial des Vins Extremes 2020” award for being the region that has submitted the most samples to the contest.
The Mondial des Vins Extremes is considered the most important contest for wines grown in extreme conditions, in which only wines produced in vineyards operating within areas that present consistent difficulties, such as being 500 meters above sea level, excluding vineyards on high plateaus; vines on growing slopes with gradients of greater than 30%; vines grown on terraces or embankments; and vines grown on small islands can be admitted to annual contest, wines labelled PDO – Protected Denomination of Origin – or PGI – Protected Geographical Indication are also eligible to enter.
A total of 785 wines from more than 19 countries, including some non-EU such as Armenia, Chile, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Israel, Lebanon or Turkey, among others, were registered in this 28th edition in which 240 wines were recognised by the 30 international tasters that made up the tasting panel. The contest awarded only the top prizes of 20 Great Gold Medals and 220 Gold Medals.
Among the Special Awards the “CERVIM 2020 Grand Prize” stands out and was this year awarded to the Ainhoa ​​Dulce 2019 from the Bodegas Balcón de La Laguna, registered within the Canary Islands DO, having obtained the highest overall score in the contest. This winery also won the “CERVIM 2020 Special Prize” awarded to the winery from each of the participating countries that obtains the best results.
Web link full list of awarded wines:http://www.mondialvinsextremes.com/en/news/list-of-award-winning-wines-ans-special-prizes-2020

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The Canary Guide

Curated news stories for English speakers who #LoveGranCanaria

The Canary News, Views & Sunshine - Est. 2009

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