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EXPERT ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANCY FOR PANGEA SITE


In this blog post we're proud to feature excerpts from an interview with Patricia Nabo from the specialist environmental consultancy firm STRIX.


Pangea has been using the experienced team at STRIX for the crucial research on our site in Alentejo, Portugal, to inform our planning and preparations for creating a sanctuary for elephants in need.


Photo right shows Patricia Nabo of STRIX: courtesy of Patrica Nabo.




1. Patricia, can you give us an overview of STRIX and your role there? 

We specialise in environmental, social, and sustainability services. We offer technical solutions and products to organisations. Our expertise includes wildlife monitoring, which can range from large-scale monitoring on windfarms to monitoring the effectiveness of mitigation measures in development projects. We specialise in bird and bat monitoring, using various fieldwork techniques such as counting points, transects, ultrasound bat detecting methods, or roost/nest surveys, depending on the requirements of the project.

I have a master's degree in Conservation Biology and currently work as a junior consultant at STRIX. My role involves helping to carry out the methodologies defined in various projects. This includes collecting, analysing and reporting data, as well as sharing project information with stakeholders.


2. Why is it so important to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment for Pangea?

An EIA is an essential process that helps to identify any environmental constraints or susceptibilities that may arise from the development of a project. Through this process, measures can be defined to mitigate and avoid negative impacts on biodiversity, landscape, soil use, archaeological heritage, and other environmental factors.

As the proposed sanctuary for elephants is a new concept, gathering these inputs through the EIA will be of the utmost importance to ensure the successful implementation of the project.


3. Can you tell us about the endangered bird species you identified at Pangea?

During our fieldwork, we have identified bird species that primarily inhabit habitats with sparse vegetation or thickets. Unfortunately, these types of habitats are becoming increasingly rare in Portugal due to various reasons such as agricultural intensification, conversion of dry cultures to intensive irrigated tree crops, forestation, and reduction of traditional agricultural practices.


One of the endangered species is the Eurasian Stone-curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus). This species is considered endangered on a national level, with a conservation status of “Vulnerable”. The Eurasian Stone-curlew is likely to breed on the site or in its vicinity, which is supported by its detection during fieldwork in the reproductive period. This bird is mostly active at night, but it may also feed during the day when breeding. It is monogamous, which means that they mate for life, and both parents care for their young. They construct their nests on the ground, usually on surfaces with sparse vegetation, among fallen branches or small shrubs. Stock photo of Eurasian Stone-curlew above.


4. Apart from the above, have you discovered anything else significant at the Pangea site?

During the fieldwork, 12 species of bats were identified, including the Mediterranean/Mehely's Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus euryale/Rhinolophus mehelyi) and Greater Mouse-eared Bat/Lesser Mouse-eared Myotis (Myotis myotis/Myotis blythii). Both of the species in first phonetic group are considered "Endangered" at the national level, while the Lesser Mouse-eared Myotis is classified as "Vulnerable." It is important to note that all bat species in Portugal are protected under the Berna Convention.

The second fieldwork campaign yielded interesting findings for reptiles and amphibians. Data analysis will be conducted to draw conclusions.

Photo below of Pangea site, credit Patricia Nabo @ STRIX


5. How might we create an environment where both elephants and nature can thrive?

One of the possible solutions, depending on our findings and what is more appropriate for the site, is to either provide shelter or maintain existing structures that serve as hiding spaces, nests or roosts for different species.

The team has done an excellent job by involving relevant stakeholders, such as local municipalities, universities, and specialists. I hope this great partnership will continue to work towards achieving the project's goals.


6. What are your hopes and aspirations for Pangea?

This project aims to provide a safe and comfortable environment for [elephants in need] while also taking into consideration the potential impacts on local ecosystems. Hopefully, this project will also inspire others at the national and European level to prioritise wildlife preservation and raise awareness through environmental education and community involvement.

Photo below of Pangea site, credit Patricia Nabo @ STRIX


Our thanks go to Patricia for taking the time to explain these fascinating insights to us and we eagerly await further data on the reptiles and amphibian findings...watch this space!


Team Pangea

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