Arona dims the lights to protect important species of bird
Arona council is to take exceptional measures to help protect a threatened species of seabird whose young are often dazzled by light and lose their lives.
The shearwater is consi-dered so important that the authority has pledged to turn off the lights of sports centres at 10pm and reduce the intensity of lights in commercial areas at night.
A campaign is also being launched to explain to people about the risks baby shear-waters face, what to do if they find an injured bird and how they can help gene-rally.
Figures show that Arona registers the greatest number of dead baby shearwaters during this time of year when they leave their nests and try to head out to sea. More than 600 became disorientated by lights in 2016, particularly in the tourist zones, and suffered a fall.
The Cinderella Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) appears in the Red Book of the Birds of Spain as vulnerable and, in the National Catalogue of Threatened Species, as “of special interest”.
This species, which only goes to the coast to reproduce, has chosen the Canary Islands as a breeding place and, specifically, in the cliffs, ravines and central areas of all of Tenerife, with outstanding breeding colonies in the sout-hern areas.
The species is most vulnerable in October and Novem-ber and when they fall, they are either never found, run over, attacked by dogs and cats or die due to lack of food.
Eighty per cent of the juveniles that fall dazzled in Tenerife are in Arona, Adeje, Guía de Isora and Santiago del Teide, coinciding with the coastal areas and tourist centres.
Arona’s environment councillor Yurena Garcia said there was a high level of under-standing in the municipality thanks to previous awareness campaigns but she stressed more could still be done.
To this end during this prime period, the intensity of the lights in the tourist and commercial areas will be reduced by 40 per cent from midnight.
Various training days have been held with represen-tatives of the tourist sector and a meeting held with hotels. Posters in English and Spanish are being put up to help explain the situation to clients.
The council is turning off the lights of sports centres and football fields in the municipality, including the Antonio Dominguez Stadium and its annex, from 10pm.
So what should be done if a wounded shearwater is found or on the ground? The first thing is to put it in a box with holes, do not give it food or water and call 112, where you will be advised of the site to deliver the bird to or send someone to pick it up. It can also be delivered directly to the Local Police or Civil Protection. Staff from the La Tahonilla Wildlife Recovery Centre will pick up the bird and transfer it to the centre for a veterinary review.