After more than century and a half of his disappearance from the area, the chamois is again going over the Alto Ason, in the Eastern Mountain Cantabria. The Nature and Man Foundation, under the LIFE project of the European Union “Recovery and Conservation of Biodiversity in the Basin Ason River” and with the collaboration of the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries of the Government of Cantabria, began the reintroduction of species in September 2002 with the release of the first six specimens. Two males and four females that, after passing the required quarantine period, adapted well to their new habitat. After several processes catch and release, throughout the project, 34 adult specimens have been released. Today, the population of chamois amounts to more than 100 specimens (updated September 2011).
Introduced animals were captured in the Picos de Europa National Park, thanks to the collaboration between the governing body of National Parks and Nature and Man Foundation. Specifically, in the Cantabrian area of the Massif Central or Urrieles, in the Ports of Salvorón, the Mount Quebres and Áliva ports.
The used trapping methods seeks to minimize any damage. When the specimens were in the group, a system of vertical networks in passageways was used to catch them. This has revealed as the method associated with lower mortality, whereas for the isolated animals were used sedative darts.
Once in the hands of the team of the Foundation, the chamois underwent veterinary treatment to certify their fitness. Later, they moved in single boxes suitable for transport and custom made.
Once verified the good health of the chamois, the release took place in a protected area of ten thousand hectares. Half was for the Natural Park Collados del Ason, while the other half has been obtained by establishing agreements with preserves of San Roque, Valdició and Vega de Pas. To facilitate its insertion in this new environment, the chamois spent a period of adaptation and quarantine enclosure in a special pre-loose before being released.
Each specimen released carries a tag and a radio transmitter collar for easy monitoring and control by the patrols designed for that purpose by Nature and Man Foundation.
Monitoring Program Reintroduction of Chamois
Upon completion of the process of releasing, the Nursery of Nature and Man Foundation has launched a Plan Surveillance and Monitoring. This last permits to control the state and evolution of the new population of reintroduced ibex, and their distribution in different places of the East Mountain.