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Better life for birds in Ibiza

Ibiza's salt production company to improve facilities for birds

The many birds which both visit and breed in the salt pans of Ibiza's Salinas natural park will notice an improvement to their living conditions over the coming period. The pans - even though they're in a natural park - are still used for the production of salt by the traditional method of slow evaporation that was introduced by the Phoenicians a couple of thousand years ago.

These shallow ponds of water are an ideal environment for visiting wading birds like the flamingo and avocet and were once the breeding grounds of birds like the plover which bred in large numbers up until the '90s. Since then, things have changed and new maintenance methods have reduced the type of environment – the long grassy hillocks which separated the pans – used by breeding birds and so numbers have dropped.

Now, a new law has been passed which forces 'mining companies' whose procedures affect the natural environment to rectify some of their actions. So, Salinera Española S.A., the company which extracts the salt at Salinas will be taking measures to help the birds which both visit and breed on their land.

The first measure is to divert water from the rainwater channels, canal and other pans to a couple of big areas which are not used for production and are ideal for wading birds. This will ensure that there is water available even in the very dry summer months. Secondly, they'll be constructing new islands within the pans which will substitute the verges and make safe breeding grounds for the plovers in the hope that their numbers will increase – they're classified as a 'vulnerable' species – to the levels of 25 years ago.

Well, let's hope that more birds are encouraged to Ibiza by this new law and if you fancy seeing a flock of flamingos wading balletically about in the pans, then just take a stroll down to the end of Es Codolar beach near the airport runway and you might get lucky. Tip – take a telephoto lens on your camera!

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