Outrage in southern Spain as music festival is blamed for deaths of endangered gazelles

NOISE from an Almeria music festival has been blamed for the death of four gazelles at an adjoining conservation centre.

Almeria City Council says it ‘doubts’ there is a link between the music and the fatalities, but has moved two Flamenco concerts from the Parque de Hoya on July 15 and 20 as a ‘precaution’.

Three political groups have filed a complaint with prosecutors asking for an investigation as to whether environmental laws were broken.


The four gazelles became irritable during last Saturday’s Alamar festival due to the loud music.

The following day their behaviour changed further as they barged into walls at the 20 hectare centre site- resulting in fatal consequences, as they broke their legs and necks

The Estacion Experimental de Zonas Aridas (EEZA) had asked for the festival to be staged elsewhere, but Almeria council said that noise levels ‘did not go above 65 decibels on the conservation centre wall’.

EEZA head, Teresa Abaigar, said: “It is frustrating that the Almeria City Council did not show the sense of caution required of a public administration over the protection of gazelles.”

“We hope that, in the future, appropriate measures will be taken so that something like this does not happen again, ” she added.

The centre’s vet, Dr. Sonia Dominguez stated that the deaths ‘could have been avoided’ and that ‘animals of incalculable value for conservation programmes have been lost and there is no turning back’.

“We warned of the special sensitivity of these animals and the critical moment in which they find themselves these days during the breeding season,” she said.

Opposition socialists on Almeria council have slammed the Partido Popular(PP) mayor, Maria del Mar Vazquez, for being ‘reckless and irresponsible’ in letting the festival go ahead.

Socialist spokesperson, Adriana Valverde, said: “The PP’s overall control of the council cannot be a licence for the mayor and her councillors to roam freely around the city, disturbing residents and causing damage, such as the serious event that occurred with the gazelles of the sub-Saharan reserve.”

2021 saw the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first gazelles in Almeria and the current population is around 400 specimens.

The conservation project has allowed the species to be reintroduced to areas of Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia.

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