Park steps in to save storks

In last week’s edition, we pictured a family of storks in their nest near Quinta do Lago. Various residents in the area have become increasingly concerned about their safety after a building firm, Monte da Quinta Propriedades Lda, apparently began clearing the site in April, in order to build a new condominium block.

The residents soon discovered that there is an EU Directive in place to protect storks. This clearly states that the deliberate disturbance, capture or killing of these birds is prohibited. The Directive also states that any damage to their nests, especially during rearing season, is also prohibited.

However, a witness, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims to have observed at least one aspect of this law being broken at the site. The storks are currently rearing their young and he claims that three weeks ago a workman at the site was bulldozing the land just one metre from the storks’ nest, scaring the birds, which briefly flew off, but later returned.

The Resident contacted Dr. Nuno Grade, from Park Nacional Ria Formosa (PNRF), to find out what is being done to enforce the EU Directive. “By law a building firm cannot destroy a stork’s nest without permission from the Minister of the Environment,” he explained. “If it acts without permission, the PNRF, the Câmara or the GNR are all in a position to take action. It is a question if law and if this law is broken, charges will be bought to those who break it – and there is a hefty fine. It is taken very seriously.”

If this is the case, and if the birds are being disturbed by workers from Monte da Quinta, then the company is breaking the law by building on a site.

However, the storks are migratory birds and Nuno Grade has assured The Resident that the situation is now under control. “I have been in talks with the owners and builders of this development –the storks will not be disturbed until August,” he revealed. “There will be no more work until the birds are able to migrate. Then the building firm will be allowed to continue.”