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Endangered Iberian Lynx in Portugal

Please read how the world's most endangered cat species is disappearing and act as suggested :

A huge deforestation program has begun to clear the way for Europe's largest dam in the Vale do Guadiana region of Portugal, considered to be the third most important nucleus for the country's tiny Iberian lynx population (between 43 to 53 individuals). The dam, conceived by President Antonio de Oliveira Salazar in 1957, was initially designed to create water for a new industrial city. Now the official purpose is to supply water to the semi-arid fields of the region. Opponents believe the thin soils are not suited to intensive agriculture and argue that the most likely beneficiaries will be golf courses and exclusive tourist resorts taking advantage of the 460 new islands created by the project.

In spite of strong opposition from environmental groups, including a new coalition called SOS Lynx, more than one million trees are now being felled to make way for the dam. The majority of these are old-growth holm and cork oaks, favoured by female lynx for raising young. Conservationists point out that the massive tree felling operation could not have come at a worse time for the lynx which normally gives birth from February to April. In an effort to mitigate environmental damage, Portuguese campaigners are calling for the water level to be reduced. They believe it is still possible to avoid the disaster by operating the dam at a level of 139 metres instead of the proposed 151. This would save the use of almost half of the surface area and over 400,000 trees, as well as diverse habitats crucial for rare animals such as the lynx.

Sources: SOS Lynx, sos.lynx@clix.pt The Guardian; Peter Jackson, IUCN Cat Specialist Group For updates check: http://www.large-carnivores-lcie.org


It is still possible to mitigate this disaster, by demanding that the operation of the dam be made initially at a lower level (139 meters above sea level) than is currently envisaged (151 meters).

To support this demand, please:

1. Copy the text below, add your name and send it to the following addresses:
pm@pm.gov.pt, ministro@maot.pt, gabinete.ministro@min-agricultura.pt, sea@maot.pt, seotcn@maot.pt, mineiroa@inag.pt, sedr@min-agricultura.pt, carlos.silva@edia.pt, sg-registre@cec.eu.int, envinfo@cec.eu.int, agri-library@cec.eu.int, jmlms2@excite.com

These addresses are, respectively, the ones of :

The Portuguese Prime Minister
The Portuguese Environment Minister
The Portuguese Environment Minister
Secretary of State for the Environment
Secretary of State of Nature Conservation and Land Planning
Secretary of State of Rural Development
President of the Water Institute
EDIA Public Relations and Communications Officer (dam developer)
President of the European Commission
Directorate-General for Environment, European Commission
Directorate-General for Environment, European Commission
Control address for the general mailing

Copy and paste the following text into your email:

LPN - QUERCUS - GEOTA - CEAI - FAPAS

Alqueva: 139 and not one meter more!

1. The Alqueva project aims at creating the largest artificial lake in Europe, in Alentejo, a semi-arid region in the South of Portugal.

2. The whole project has enormous environmental impacts: 25,000 ha of flooded area, more than one million oak and olive trees felled, destruction of habitats of several endangered species, including the golden eagle, the otter, the Iberian lynx, amongst others.

3. These environmental impacts will be felt even in regions away from the reservoir: the water diversion scheme to the Sado basin may endanger the dolphins in the Sado estuary. Coastline and beaches near the mouth of the Guadiana will also be affected by the project.

4. Negative social impacts will also be profound. There will be displacement of rural families, flooding of the village of Luz, changes in the social equilibrium inn the entire region.

5. The economic prospects are, at minimum, worrisome the development of European Community Agricultural policy towards extensification, coupled with the implementation of the full-cost recovery principle foreseen in the new Water Framework Directive will render most of the irrigation developments in the area unprofitable, thereby rendering useless the storage of water at the levels foreseen by the development.

It is yet possible to avoid the disaster: operating the dam at the level of 139 meters will save the use of almost half of the surface area and over 400,000 trees, as well as diverse habitats, crucial for many different, rare, animal and plant species. It will allow, for an adequate supply of the water needs of the region for the first few years, and a rethink of the project at a more humane scale, compatible with the needs of the local communities.

Taking into consideration what has been mentioned previously,

We demand a stage-be-stage management of the reservoir, with the initial stage at 139 meters.
Stop immediately all clearing of land and trees at higher levels!

On behalf of the community, the economy and the environment


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