The Moroccan population of Great Bustard Otis tarda was surveyed in the four years 1998-2001. Highest numbers were counted in December 1998 (21 males, 62-65 females, four first-year males: total c.90) and March 2001 (15 males, 60-66 females, four first-year males: total 75-81). Combining enquiry results from local people with these data, the population size for spring is estimated at 92-111 individuals, and 117-133 for winter. Reproduction is confirmed. Threats to the population include illegal hunting, habitat loss through agricultural intensification (irrigation, use of pesticides) and infrastructural changes (construction of a motorway and a powerplant), disturbance, and accidents at powerlines and antennas. Several conservation measures are suggested: cease hunting; maximize the attention given to display sites; encourage villagers to carry out "Great Bustard-friendly" land use and adapt animal stocks to the carrying capacity of their regions; clarify the situation of genetic exchange between Spanish and Moroccan populations; study movements between the Moroccan sites; monitor the size and trends of the most important subpopulations; and conduct education campaigns in schools and increase public awareness among adults.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Nature and Landscape Conservation