Project to reintroduce the gopher tortoise in the El Catllar reservoir

The Mediterranean or land turtle returns to inhabit the surroundings of the El Catllar reservoir. At the moment not yet in a consolidated way, since it will still have to wait a few years to know how the population of these specimens evolves, which began to be released approximately a year and a half ago, within the reintroduction program led by the Center for the Recovery of Amphibians and Reptiles of Catalonia (CRARC).

Joaquim Soler, technical director of the CRARC, explained that it is a protected species since 1988, when it became a "pet animal" for many families. This practically caused their disappearance in the natural habitat, which is why in recent years several reintroduction projects have been carried out in the Catalan geography, about which they avoid disclosing the details, to prevent them from being hunted again. .

The reintroduction of the Mediterranean tortoise has been done in collaboration with the La Noria Environmental Association and has as a background the new collaboration agreement that the entity has signed with the company Repsol. This affects the custody of an area of ​​499.44 hectares of land, in the vicinity of the El Catllar reservoir, which are part of the concession that the petrochemical company has over this infrastructure and that La Sínia will manage until 2032.

One of the first actions will be the drafting of a forest management plan

The land forms part of the hydraulic public domain of the river Gaià and the reservoir itself and is located in six municipalities that form part of two different counties. It is the case of La Secuita, El Catllar, Renau, Vespella de Gaià, Salomón and Vilabella. A part of the surface is part of the aquatic area, while there are also agricultural and forestry farms.

The custody agreement is based on two axes. In the first place, forest management and, in this sense, in the coming months a plan will be drafted with actions such as the reduction of forest mass, the recovery of crops and the creation of a herd, for the maintenance of these cleaning actions . As for the second axis, this wants to preserve and disseminate the biodiversity of the environment, which is part of the Nature 2000 Network What Site of Community Importance and Special Protection Area for Birds. And it is that, in addition to the tortoises, it is an area of ​​special interest, since a couple of Bonelli's eagles live in it.

The director of the Repsol complex in Tarragona, Javier Sancho, highlighted the "importance" of a collaboration that should allow "the recovery of this natural space and its knowledge, in order to help in its conservation." For her part, the president of La Sínia, Raquel Córdova, stated that this is the 35th custody agreement that the entity has signed and that this one in particular "represents a great challenge, which will make us all make a lot of effort when working ».

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