2005 PDF 2006 PDF 2007 PDF 2008 PDF 2009 PDF 2010 2011
Select News title to link directly to item.
05 June: World Oceans day at Camp Bay
04 June: Fishing Report Published
03 June: Wing tagged Griffons make it home.
28 May: Griffons make the headlines.
09 May: Barbary Macaque Management Plan launch imminent
03 Apr: National Geographic film macaques with crittercams
08th Jan: Mario Mosquera 1955-2013
World Oceans Day
World Oceans Day has been celebrated on the 8th June since its inception at the Rio Summit in 1992. Since then 'World Ocean Project' and 'World Ocean Network' has coordinated international participation.
This year, to mark this occasion, GONHS is holding a marine outing, from 09:30 till noon, inviting the general public to the area between Camp Bay and Little Bay, where there will be several experts in the marine field to explain and show the wonderful marine biodiversity found along our shoreline. There will also be several tanks to hold specimens before being released back to the wild.
The Government of Gibraltar has finally published the long awaited ‘Fishing Report’ commissioned last year.
The report entitled “The Management of Marine Living Resources in the Waters Around Gibraltar” was authored by Dr Chris Tydeman and Indrani Lutchman, consultants engaged by the Gibraltar Government that formed part of the working group which also included Eric Shaw, Alfred Vasquez and Stephen Warr.
The report concludes that
- the basis for Gibraltar's environmental protection laws are sound;
- information currently available is insufficient to provide clear results on the state of fish stocks;
- HMGoG should therefore continue to act in keeping with established precautionary principles of conservation and pursue active management of the marine environment; and
- future changes to environmental management must be dependent on these issues.
The Government of Gibraltar is considering its recommendations and preparing a marine strategy for Gibraltar that will include:-
1. Regulations to control marine recreational activities that will allow these while providing safeguards for the local environment and support for Gibraltar sea users. These regulations will in particular affect diving activities and rod-fishing and will be published very shortly;
2. Increased resources for environmental protection and enforcement;
3. Measures to increase the populations of all marine species;
4. Increased monitoring and collection of data to allow for the ability to respond quickly to changes ;
5. A review of current management based on the success and predicted success of the above initiatives.
The report in welcomed by GONHS that will be analysing its content. We look forward to the enactment of forthcoming legislation that will ensure sustainable use and improvements to the marine environment and provide sustainable conservation management protocols for all marine species.
The report can be downloaded at the Government website at http://www.gibraltar.gov.gi/images/stories/PDF/environment/Management_of_marine_living_resources_in_the_waters_around_Gibraltar.pdf
Wing tagged Griffons
make it home.
One of the Griffon Vultures rescued from the sea on the 9th April was fitted with a wing tag, KL, and released on the 17 April. It was subsequently seen in the company of other Griffon Vultures at a feeding site in Oliva de Merida, Badajoz on the 13th May. The bird was in good condition and we hope we will receive further sightings in the near future.
Another Griffon that was rescued in November last year was fitted with the wing tag KA. It was released on the 13th November 2102 and has been sighted in San Vicente de Alcantara, Badajoz, Spain on the 12th May this year. The bird was in good condition, and feeding at a carcass in the company of other Griffon Vultures.
Wing tags are more successful in providing a sighting than a bird fitted with a metal ring or a colour ring. The colour ring is difficult to read and can be obscured by dense foliage, whereas the reading of a metal ring only comes with the capture of the bird; and in most cases a dead one. The wing tags can also be read successfully on birds in flight as was the case when one was seen and photographed in Gibraltar a few years ago. See 2010 pdf
Griffons make the headlines.
Griffon Vultures arrived in Gibraltar in good numbers, after crossing the Strait during the long weekend. Tired and exhausted, the birds fell prey to awaiting Yellow-legged Gulls and also had to face the gauntlet of the several pairs of Peregrine falcons that nest on the Rock.
The weather conditions proved optimal for the crossing , with a fresh south-westerly wind providing them with a following wind. Nevertheless the crossing is a huge obstacle to these birds, and most of which arrive at this time of the year are immature and inexperienced birds. Several managed to cross into Spain, but a few were forced into the sea where they were rescued by the Dolphin Adventure boat and the Royal Gibraltar Police Marine Section. One was rescued at Camp Bay beach by the lifeguards, and we presume that several did not make it.
The Raptor Rehabilitation Unit, under the supervision of Vincent Robba, spent most of the weekend rescuing several birds, and picking up the rescued birds. These were taken into care and after a short period in captivity will be released in a few days time. The story made the Gibraltar Chronicle headlines where they picked up on the huge effort made by everyone in the rescue. See story here; Gibraltar Chronicle.
Two of the birds have been fitted with wing tags.
GONHS would like to thank everyone involved in the rescue of these birds.
Barbary Macaque Management Plan
The Government announced that the long awaited Barbary Macaque Management Plan is now at the implementation stage .
The plan which has been prepared in consultation with local and international experts including Dr. Agustin Fuentes, a Professor of Anthropology at the Notre Dame University in Indiana, will include a wide range of improvements that will include:
- Greater and more active monitoring of group size, structure and movements.
- Greater presence at the main sites on the Upper Rock, with operators working with tourism staff to help with interpretation and discourage illegal feeding and other unwanted human interactions.
- Greater ability to attend call-outs and deter macaques becoming established in urban areas.
- Improvements to feeding sites in the Nature Reserve.
- Provision of water and ponds in the Nature Reserve.
- Improved interpretation facilities to include production of literature and leaflets.
- Establishment of Research and Conservation Advisory Panel of local and international experts.
- Continuing research into the species.
- Follow on the contraception procedures, and continue to pursue exportation as the preferred option to population control.
National Geographic film macaques with crittercams
Over the Easter weekend a team led by Professor Agustin Fuentes of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana in the US, and Dr. Lisa Engel-Jones in collaboration with the GONHS Macaque Management team and the Veterinary Clinic, fitted crittercams and GPS loggers on several animals as part of project involving National Geographic. The high definition cameras were fitted to three macaques for a period of 48hrs and removed automatically via a drop-off mechanism. The results were staggering, and presented to the public at a presentation at the Eliott Hotel, where a presentation was made on the success of the venture, and footage of the animals foraging and interacting in the wild was shown.
The presentation also looked at aspects and the importance of macaques at a global and regional level, and aspects of their management. How we get along with them and the future. Greg marshall, of the National Geographic Remote Imaging presented his results on how crittercams are used to see the world through the eyes of animals. All together and interesting and absorbing venture.
GONHS deeply regrets the news of the unexpected death of our friend and colleague Mario Mosquera on Sunday 6th January 2013.
Mario’s interest in ornithology began at an early age, in the Gibraltar Grammar School, where with other keen students, he co-founded the Gibraltar Ornithological Society that later became the GONHS. He was a keen birder, co-authored the ‘Birds of Gibraltar’ and was one of the main contributors of bird records to the website and the Gibraltar Bird Report. Although interested and committed to all branches of ornithology, he was particularly passionate about birds of prey and many of us will remember his company, enthusiasm and unfailing smile when we used to gather at the lay-by at Jews’ Gate, to spend the day watching the arrival of migrating raptors.
Mario studied zoology at Hull University and spent time as a teacher at the Bayside Comprehensive School before turning his career to the insurance sector, where he dedicated most of his lifetime. He recently returned to teaching, where he tried hard to instill his passion for wildlife and birds to children. He was also elected Chairman of the Gibraltar Heritage Trust, where he developed a junior section and led wildlife outings to watch birds at Jews’ Gate. Although recently Mario will have been best known for his role with the Trust, he should equally be remembered as an important founder member of GONHS and someone who was always passionate about Gibraltar's wildlife and its conservation.
The GONHS would like to express our most sincere condolences to his wife Marie.
Select News title to link directly to item.
Thinking Green Conference & Exhibition
Southern Waters of Gibraltar Management Scheme
Hooded Seal turns up at Coaling Island
International Bat Night
Rock of Gibraltar Special Area of Conservation
Lesser Kestrels article in Gibraltar Chronicle
Word of Mouth Recycling initiative
Government releases Upper Rock report
Thinking Green Conference and Exhibition
At a packed Tercentenary Hall at Bayside, politicians, businessmen, members of the Chamber of Commerce, representatives of Government Departments, NGOs, students and other members of the public were entertained to an enthralling delivery of the three keynote speakers that presented their strong environmental messages.
The Conference was opened by the Minister for Health & the Environment, Dr. John Cortes, our former General Secretary, who delivered an impressive and inspirational speech on the future environmental development of Gibraltar.
The full contents of the speech can be downloaded here; Minister Cortes' speech PDF
This was followed by guest speaker Juan Verde, the former Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia at the US department of Commerce, who presented the policies of the Obama administration on renewable energy and explained how the US elections would affect the European economy. A speech directed to the business community, politicians and entrepreneurs where he said that now was the moment to take a huge step and incorporate new technology and innovation to build towards a sustainable future.
Finally it was the turn of the prominent quest speaker Al Gore; former US Vice President and Nobel prize winner, he presented the "Thinking Green Economic Strategy for the 21st Century" arguing that physical changes we are experiencing are affecting our global economy. He encouraged the audience to look beyond simple GDP as the sole measure of progress and consider broader issues - environmental, social, and political- when setting business targets and strategies.
Earlier that morning, the business sector, entrepreneurs, sponsors, companies and NGOs were invited to showcase and promote their products and services. GONHS had a very successful participation, presenting our conservation and environmental strategies and our publications to the visitors.
GONHS welcomes the publication
'Southern Waters of Gibraltar Management Scheme'
The Management Scheme is the framework that will enable the Relevant Authorities to carry out their responsibilities and functions in line with the requirements of the Nature Protection Act 1991, the Marine Strategy Regulations 2011 and the Marine Protection Regulations 2012. These legislative provisions aim to protect both the habitats and species for which the Southern Waters of Gibraltar European Marine Site was designated, but extend to the whole of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.
It is an EU Natura 2000 site that encompasses a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the EU Habitats Directive, and a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the EU Birds Directive.
GONHS is pleased that this document will enable the authorities to implement legislation that will protect and conserve our important marine habitats and their wildlife.
The report can be downloaded from the Gibraltar Government website or directly from this link.
Saturday 6th October at the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens
In October the BirdLife national Partners invite the public to explore the beauty of birds, especially to experience the magic of bird migration.
EuroBirdwatch (European Birdwatch) is the common event organised by the European national organisations of BirdLife International, a global Partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. Since 1993 on the first weekend in October the BirdLife national Partners invite the public to explore the beauty of birds, especially to experience the magic of bird migration. The wide variety of events organised across the European continent include bird watching excursions, special bird watching events on organic farms, contests for children on identifying birds by their song, bird fairs, excursions to watch birds in national parks and many more activities.
The goal is to encourage as many people as possible to go bird watching over one weekend, and to record sightings of as many as possible of bird species. Another important aim is to give a good reason to bird lovers for meeting and practising bird watching.
From the observation stands the number of observed birds and the participating people is reported to the national centre of the BirdLife organisation and from there to the European Centre, which is run by one BirdLife partner. From 2011, the Central-Asian countries have been also included in this unique event.
EuroBirdwatch - BirdLife’s annual bird watching event in Europe - works to raise awareness of the issues relating to bird migration, and promotes efforts needed to save threatened bird species and their habitats.
How to participate
Book your time for the 6 October.
Results of Eurobirdwatch 2011
2011 was the largest ever EuroBirdwatch referring to the national events. BirdLife Partners and affiliate organisations from 37 European and Central Asian countries, participated, organising 2,200 different events. Almost five million birds of different species were counted. Starling , Little Bunting and Crane were the top three species.
Locally, GONHS will once again be hosting EuroBirdwatch, as Gibraltar's BirdLife Partner organisation.
Our events will be centred around the Alameda Botanic Gardens and Europa Point as follows:
SATURDAY 6th OCTOBER 2012
BIRD RINGING 8am to around 11am (the sun comes up higher after then) trained bird ringers will be catching birds in mist nets around the gardens and bringing them to a temporary ringing station on top of the Nature Shop at the Grand Parade entrance, where the birds will be identified, measured, weighed and released. This is a good opportunity for members of the public to take photos of wild birds up close.
BIRD WALKS 9am onwards. GONHS members will be leading walks around the Gardens, looking out for local and perhaps migratory birds. There will be a telescope on the bridge over The Dell from where birds can be seen coming in to bathe and drink at a fountain.
RAPTOR DISPLAY (Birds of Prey) - Our RaptorUnit will be bringing a variety of birds down to the walk between the top of the Grand Parade entrance steps and The Cottage, which should include a variety of eagles, hawks and falcons. The team will be setting up the birds at around 1030am.
Please note that in order to avoid unnecessary stress to the birds these will usually be removed after 1200-1230pm, so please don't come late and miss these wonderful birds.
3pm-6pm from the Europa Point Marine Observatory. Accessible on foot, by car (Europa Point car-park) or free (for pass holders / holders of Gibraltar ID cards) on the route bus from Market Place to Europa Point.
All are most welcome (please note that dogs are not permitted within the Alameda Botanic Gardens)
Please join us on https://www.facebook.com/groups/gonhs/
Hooded Seal turns up at Coaling Island
Shortly after midday, the GONHS received a report that someone had sighted a seal at the Coaling Island inside the Gibraltar harbour. When we arrived we discovered that the seal was resting on a slipway, and a small crowd of onlookers had gathered to witness this surprising pinniped.
Immature Hooded Seal Cystophora cristata Photo: Eric Shaw
The seal spent the rest of the afternoon and evening resting, and basking in the sunshine to the delight of crowds of people that had picked up the news on Facebook. The camera crew of the GBC, were quickly on the scene and our Marine Section head, Eric Shaw, was at hand to provide some information on the animal. Suggestions of the identity of the pinniped revolved around two species. The rare Mediterranean Monk Seal, that has a very reduced population in coastal areas of North Africa, and the Hooded Seal of the arctic, which, given the enormous distance from the home range, has been sighted in coastal areas of Iberia and the Mediterranean in recent years. Photos of the pinniped were quickly circulated to experts and confirmation of the Hooded Seal came from experts at monachus-guardian.org.
The Hooded Seal is occasionally encountered in distant waters, and records of this species come from as far away places as the Caribbean and the Canary Islands. This individual spent the night at the site but disappeared soon after 3:30 in the morning. We hope that it survives in the wild and manages to return back to its breeding grounds in the Arctic.
GONHS contributes towards the Clean Up The World Campaign
The GONHS team joined up with a team from the Royal Gibraltar Police to tackle a hotspot at the beach by 'Seven Sisters'. The area had been cleared on an annual basis for several years now, but there was a large fig tree that was impeding access to a large accumulation of rubbish, and our task was to open a way in. This time around we were armed with a couple of bow saws which were quickly put through their paces, sawing through many of the branches that obstructed access to the main cache of rubbish. The immediate frontline of the tree was tackled first and as we stepped along the fringe of the tree, the ground gave way to the sound of crushed plastic bottles and other debris that was hidden from view by branches. Several minutes of sawing and we were soon removing a huge accumulation of plastic bottles that had washed up at the high tideline mark, and had remained behind several logs that had been placed in front of the treeline. Having removed most of the accumulations at the base we then tackled an access to the base by the wall. I have never seen so much rubbish in one spot in my life. The tree was shrouded with plastic bin liners that had been chucked over the cliff, with many that had remained intact and held an array of items including many plastic items. We managed to cut our way into the interior of the tree and gain access close to the base, but every step we took revealed more and more rubbish. The more old plastic bin liners we pulled out, the more that appeared underneath. By mid morning we had filled all the large bags we had brought with us. Items found here included the remains of a car, with the steering wheel, radiator, several tyres and a door, pulled out from under the branches. There were the remains of a locker, several buckets, paint tins, rusting objects, and no end of disposed waste in the form of full bin liners all over the place. We feel that the accumulation within and under this tree may go down to a depth of several metres, and the job required to remove all the accumulation will take several CUTW efforts to completely clear this area.
The Clean Up The World teams composed members of the Royal Gibraltar Police and the GONHS that tackled the refuse accumulations at the beach at 'Seven Sisters' on Saturday. Photo: Richard Durell
We were very impressed by the excellent organisation that the ESG have done and would like to thank them for the opportunity to provide them with assistance this year. The area is one of immense natural beauty with a diverse botanic and marine flora and fauna, and merits the efforts to ensure that the place is cleaned thoroughly and remains clean.
We would also like to thank Rosie Peach for her sterling organisation on site, and our sincere thanks to the GDP and RGP that ferried us across to the site in the boats.
In barely two hours we has run out of bags as we filled them with countless plastic and glass bottles, and general waste. There were also remains of a car, with steering wheel, radiator, two tyres and a door that had been chucked over the wall onto the beach. there is still a lot of work left to clear several metres of rubbish accumulated under a dense fig tree. Photo: Richard Durell
International bat night
The Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS) will be taking part in the renamed International Bat Night [until last year known as European Bat Night] next Saturday 15th September. This year GONHS is continuing to promote the Year of the Bat 2011-2012, a two year-long global species awareness initiative undertaken by The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and The Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats (EUROBATS).
This will be held at the Open Air Theatre, Alameda Gardens, starting at 8.30pm in order to maximise the opportunities of seeing bats emerging around twilight and to give time for participants to ask questions before then. Although no end time is set, previous year's events usually finish around 10-10.30pm.
Entrance is free. Please note that as this even is being held within the Alameda Botanic Gardens, dogs are not allowed. This event is suitable for all ages, particularly children.
GONHS volunteers will be setting up an ultrasound bat detector with speakers, through which participants should be able to hear an electronic interpretation of bat calls, as these forage for insects around trees and over the theatre's pond.
Albert Yome, GONHS Bat Group coordinator said that they expect to see or detect Soprano pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus, Schreiber's Bent-winged bat Miniopterus schreibersii [50 individuals of this species seen at a roost in Gibraltar during the last week] and perhaps the European freetailed bat Tadarida teniotis.
About International / European Bat Night
The event, organised by EUROBATS, takes place every year in more than 30 countries. Nature conservation agencies and NGOs from across Europe pass on information to the public about the way bats live and their needs with presentations, exhibitions and bat walks, often offering the opportunity to listen to bat sounds with the support of ultrasound technology.
This is usually held throughout Europe during the last week of August, but in Gibraltar we hold it a few weeks later in order to avoid loud noises emanating from the fair or National Week events, which make listening out for bat calls almost impossible.
An Introduction to EUROBATS
The Bat Agreement:-
The Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats, which came into force in 1994, presently numbers thirty European states among its Parties, from North, South, East and West.
The Agreement was set up under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, which recognises that endangered migratoryspecies can be properly protected only if activities are carried out over the entire migratory range of the species.
The Bat Agreement aims to protect all 45 species of bats identified in Europe, through legislation, education, conservation measures and international cooperation with Agreement members and with those who have not yet joined.
In Gibraltar, all bats and their roost sites are protected under the Nature Protection Act 1991.
On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/464275903607007/
Please help GONHS in promoting this event by including in your 'what's on' or similar features.
Pipistrellus sp, courtesy of the Bat Conservation Trust ©.
The editorial team would like to apologise to our members for the delay in the publication of Nature News this year. This has been mainly due to the restructuring of the Council, its duties and looking to changing the format of Nature News that will incorporate other features of interest and feedback from the membership. The 2011 Bird Report is nearly ready and will be posted to the membership in the autumn.
The Rock of Gibraltar designated a Special Area of Conservation
under the EU Habitats Directive
The Government of Gibraltar has announced that in accordance with the requirements of the Nature Protection Act 1991 and the EU Habitats Directive, the designation of the Rock of Gibraltar Site of Community Importance (SCI) as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). This has been effected through the publication of Legal Notice 118/2012.
The Rock of Gibraltar has long been recognised as an important biogeographical area due to its rich diversity in species and habitats.
It is for these reasons that it was designated by the EU as a Site of Community Importance in 2006. In fulfilling our obligations on the management of the Rock of Gibraltar SAC the Government will be working with relevant bodies to ensure the long term sustainability of these areas, which must be developed and enhanced as one of Gibraltar’s most precious resources.
This has been finally achieved through the continued campaign by GONHS, for the Gibraltar Government to recognise the value of Gibraltars natural assets.
Lesser Kestrel article in Gibraltar Chronicle
The Gibraltar Chronicle has published an article of the work carried out by the Raptor Rehabilitation Unit, in relation with the captive breeding programme of Lesser Kestrels. The Unit has, for several years now, bred the Lesser Kestrel, considered vulnerable by Birdlife International.
The full text of the article can be read at this link http://www.chronicle.gi/headlines_details.php?id=25360
The Ravens have been a feature of the skies in Gibraltar since the turn of the century. Historically there had been a resident pair of Ravens on the Rock, with the last nesting pair disappearing in the early 1970s. The GONHS were elated when a pair colonised and attempted nesting for the first time in 2001, but following several attempts over the years, we discovered that one individual was missing a foot and we attributed this to its lack of success. Nevertheless it was always a welcome sight to see these magnificent birds chasing Yellow-legged Gulls, and raptors, foraging around the Rock, and landing on the Clifftops roof where observers at Jews’ Gate would admire their antics.
In May of this year, we received a report that one of the Ravens had been found dead, hanging by a leg on cliff stabilisation mesh erected below Buena Vista Barracks. A visit to the site confirmed the loss of one of these wonderful birds. Apparently it may have been foraging in the crevices in the cliff and got snagged in the wire mesh.
The GONHS has always been very critical of the use of cliff stabilisation mesh, especially in locations, which birds utilise for breeding and roosting. We have always insisted that a wide diameter is used so as to accommodate nesting Blue Rock Thrushes, and allow small passerines access to this habitat. Nevertheless there have been instances when Yellow-legged Gulls have become trapped behind the mesh, and the Caves and Cliffs Section have then extracted the birds and ensured that the gaps are minimised.
'Word of Mouth Communication' recycling initiative
Jonathan Scott, of 'Word of Mouth Communication's has invited GONHS members to participate in this initative.
This weekend, Word of Mouth is producing an advert for Government designed to kick start recycling in Gibraltar. We would love some GONHS members to be involved if possible.
Here are some details for this Sunday's filming...
Sunday 2.30 - 5.30pm / El Capote A briefing for all participants outside El Capote restaurant (Market Lane), followed by our large group shot (outside the old police station on Irish Town). No acting will be required- we'll just film you cheering & smiling, while our actor does some recycling.
If you have any more questions just email me - jonathanscott_2000 'AT' yahoo.com . Please convert email 'AT' to @ and leave out spaces.
Government releases Upper Rock Report
The Gibraltar Government has finally released the 'Upper Rock Nature Reserve; A Management and Action Plan' to the public.
The report, which was prepared in 2005, was part of an EU co-funded project that was researched and written by Charles Perez and Dr. Keith Bensusan of GONHS. At the time, the report was looked into by Government officials, but this was never published or publicly acknowledged.
GONHS is delighted that Minister for the Environment Dr. John Cortes has released this to the public domain, and urges Government to take full advantage of its contents in the formulation of a management strategy for the Upper Rock . Minister Cortes acknowledged the work involved and thanked the authors, informing the press that it contained a wealth of information that would be of interest to many, including those interested in natural history and to educationalists.
Copies of the publication are available at the Department of the Environment at Duke of Kent House and the Nature Shop at Casemates.
A pdf of the document is available here for download. This is a particularly large file of 14.2MB.
Upper Rock Nature Reserve; A Management & Action Plan
At the AGM of the 25th January, a motion was passed by the membership to increase subscriptions as from 2012. The increase of £5 to each membership category will mean that Family Membership is now £25, Individual Membership is £20 and Junior Members (under 18) and pensioners pay £10.
Members will have noticed that the Programme of Events calender recently posted still reflects the old subscription, but due to the AGM being postponed until the new year, Council was unable to incorporate this change until it was approved by the membership yesterday. Subscriptions are due as from the 31st March 2012.
Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting of the Society was held at the Alameda Botanic Garden's Cottage on the 25th January.
The meeting was well attended with many new members present for the first time.
Elections to the post of Council member, which is held every two years, as a requisite, under the Society's Constitution was conducted and the following members were re-elected to Council. Paul Acolina, Harry Vangils, Jean Paul Latin, Jill Yeoman and Albert Yome. Charles Perez was elected to Council and relinquished his post as section head of the Straits of Gibraltar Bird Observatory. This post has now been taken up by Keith Bensusan who has passed his responsibilities as section head of the Invertebrates Section to Alex Menez. Other Section heads remain unchanged, and these are Leslie Linares (Botanical Section), Richard Durrell (Caves and Cliffs Section), Eric Shaw (Marine Section) and Vincent Robba (Raptor Rehabilitation Unit). Section heads also form part of the Society's committee but are ex-officio members and are elected by the members of each section.
The position of General Secretary will be elected from the Council Members at the next council meeting.
The annual accounts of the Society were circulated to the membership and approved. Members will receive a copy of this in the post.
A motion to increase the membership subscription was put to the floor. The increase of £5 to each membership category was deemed necessary because of increased costs of printed material that is circulated to the membership. This was approved by the membership and the new subscriptions will cover 2012.
In view of this it was suggested that the membership be offered the opportunity to receive Nature News as a pdf, although the printed alternative would remain. Sponsorship and corporate membership was also discussed and we will be looking into other ways to encourage participation by the private sector.
The membership was informed that council felt that the GONHS website needed a facelift. We would be looking to professional web-developers to design a contemporary website that will meet the needs of the Society for the future. The possibility of online subscription payment through secure webpages utilising PayPal or other means will also be investigated.
On a final note Council announced that it was very pleased with the reception to the GONHS Facebook page that was receiving a lot of interest from members of the public and is seen as a tool to express, share ideas, and participate in meaningful discussion on environmental matters and the natural environment.
Previous News items can be accessed from the News Archive in PDF format.
2005 PDF 2006 PDF 2007 PDF 2008 PDF 2009 PDF 2010 2011