Sunday, December 5

The largest center in Spain for the recovery of fauna is born in Asturias

The center already has its first “official” tenants because, even without being inaugurated, last year it cared for 400 animals. At present, a capercaillie, a short-toed eagle, two buzzards, two hedgehogs, a kestrel, an owl and a peregrine falcon are currently “hospitalized” in Sobrescobio. All enjoy facilities that Villar described as “the Central University Hospital of Asturias for fauna.” And some of that has. Alvaro Oleaga, the center’s veterinarian explained the process that the animals follow since they arrive at Sobrescobio. The first thing is the entrance, moment in which the animal is isolated. Later an initial inspection is made, “a kind of triage, as is done with humans,” explained Oleaga. Finally, an in-depth diagnosis is made and the protocol to be followed is dictated.

Is what happened with a short-toed eagle collected last August. “He had been electrocuted and had a significant loss of tissue in his right wing”, Detailed the vet. In these months its evolution has been positive “and we have managed to regenerate the skin and close the entire lesion.” On the damaged wing, “primary feather cannons (necessary for flight) begin to appear,” congratulated Oleaga, who hopes that by next spring he will be able to leave the center. This eagle comes from Africa “and there are now his companions, whom we hope he can join in freedom when they return next year.”

Before, the horse must go to the gym, to what David Villar calls “weight or flight rooms” in which the specialists release the birds so that they acquire the necessary physical form to be able to return them to nature.

That is the great goal, “recover all the animals we can“Said Oleaga, who also explained that” not all of them are recoverable but from these we must try to obtain as much information as possible. ” This will be done in the operating rooms and in the necropsy room of the Sobrescobio facilities.

The wildlife hospital has two distinct parts. On the one hand there is the area for the public, whether schoolchildren and groups of visitors, and on the other the purely veterinary or scientific. In total they are 4,000 square meters of installation that will be expanded in the future. The outer fences still need to be built.

Visitors who come to the center will not see the animals directly, but they will be able to get a very accurate idea of ​​what is done there.. In addition to a small exhibition area, with panels and some explanatory pieces on wildlife, the public will be able to see the evolution of the animals on screens. In each of the spaces where the specimens are, cameras have been installed “that will allow veterinarians to do a constant control of the animals and that will also serve to allow the public to see them,” explained David Villar.

In this first space, a training room has also been set up that will be used both for school visits and for the training of agents of the natural environment.

“All animals that need it will have a space in this center”

David Villar – General Director of Medio Natural


In the part strictly dedicated to veterinary treatment there are, as in any hospital, “Rooms” for one, two and up to three animals. In addition, the center has two huge pools for the recovery of mammals or aquatic birds. There are also several spaces for large mammals such as deer, deer or even bears. In one of them, the cub Lara was recovered a decade ago until it was reintroduced into its natural habitat. In fact, there are still traces of his stay on the metal walls of the space he occupied, as the counselor Alejandro Calvo warned yesterday.

The magnitude of the facilities will allow to be able to attend almost with total security to all the animals that are rescued in Asturias. “Everyone who needs it will have a space,” said David Villar. The counselor Alejandro Calvo went further and, given the size of the complex, already raised the possibility of establishing agreements with other autonomous communities so that rescued animals can be transferred to Sobrescobio in other regions.

Veterinary and scientific work

Calvo congratulated himself on being able to inaugurate facilities that “involve a great opportunity for the growth of Networks”. Calvo not only highlighted the project as “one more step in the work of unifying all the work of conservation of our natural heritage”, but also underlined “the work of dissemination, promotion and education” of the center. “There will be veterinary and scientific work, but also informative,” he insisted.

“There will be veterinary and scientific work, but also informative”

Alejandro Calvo – Counselor of Rural Environment


Villar, already put on the table that “we will have to start talking with the local councils in the area to start organizing school visits in the coming weeks”. Something that is later intended to be extended to educational centers throughout Asturias. In addition, “throughout the next year, visits by groups of scientists will be scheduled.”

The mayor of Sobrescobio stressed that “it is a highly criticized project.” Now he asks that “it be a shock to the council and the entire Network Park.” In 2020, 1,670 interventions with wildlife were registered, of which 365 required veterinary attention. Specifically, attention was paid to animals of 70 different species and, of them, 158 were recovered and reintroduced into the natural environment, many with geolocation devices. In the case of the birds, all were released ringed for further study.

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