WWF plans flooding to save Doñana birds

Environmental group warns of 6m migratory birds in danger following toxic mine spillage

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said today that it was planning emergency action in southern Spain to safeguard millions of migratory birds threatened by residual toxicity from a disastrous mine leakage in April. The group, which owns 10,000 hectares of land in the Doñana national park in Andalucia, says that the main freshwater lake in the Doñana area remains contaminated despite substantial clean-up efforts elsewhere. It plans to flood two large lagoons on land that it owns to provide an uncontaminated refuge for wading birds. The group says it has been forced to take matters into its own hands because national and local Spanish authorities have been slow and uncoordinated in their approach to addressing the effects of the Los Frailes mine spillage. Coto Doñana is one of Europe's major centres for migratory wetland birds, 6m of which over-winter in the area or pass through in spring and autumn. "In April, everyone knew the birds would come in October, but no one prepared anything," a spokesperson for WWF Spain told ENDS Daily. The group is also calling on the Spanish authorities to make action plans to protect the birds' water, food and shelter over the winter.

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