Curator #101: Carles Carboneras

Carles Carboneras - VNG platjaMy name is Carles Carboneras (@carbonectrix) and I have a life-long passion for Nature. Since 2013, I work for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (@Natures_Voice), in the UK, where I lead on European policy on invasive alien species. The RSPB is part of the wider network BirdLife International and, together, we are the largest conservation organisation in Europe, with over 2 million members and 4,100 staff. We use our strength to influence policies at all levels, from the circles of power in Brussels to local communities, and we work together to make the world a better place. Sometimes we succeed in making a difference, but it´s always hard work because the planet is not heading in the right direction, as we all know.

I was born on the Mediterranean coast (Badalona, 1964) and grew up among seabirds and fishermen, but also spent time in the mountains of the Pyrenees. I have a BA degree in Law and a Master’s in Biodiversity, which have helped me develop an international career in conservation, where I have contributed to save albatrosses and petrels around the world, identify Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean, advise national governments on legislation to protect biodiversity, and work as Information Officer for the UNEP Convention on Migratory Species. I have also bought land and developed reserve management plans for a conservation trust in Catalonia.

For a territory of its size, Catalonia has a very rich fauna and flora which are in a relatively good conservation status. Few other places in the world can offer such a wide representation of different biomes (from tundra-like alpine meadows to semiarid badlands), and species, within a short distance of each other. Where else in Europe can you see a chamois and a flamingo, a bustard and a whale in the same day? Many habitats and species of global or regional conservation concern are represented in Catalonia, which is a privilege (and a pleasure!) that also carries some responsibilities.

This week that I will be acting as curator of @Catalanvoices, I would like to take you on a journey through the beauties of Nature, but also through some of its problems. I am privileged to visit some amazing places, because of my work-passion, and to get to see some very charismatic animals. I´d like to use this opportunity to introduce you in particular to the wonderful world of vultures, a common sight in the Pyrenees nowadays with an interesting story of conservation, and to the Ebro delta, a rich ecosystem in an incredible landscape that is currently under serious threat, including from invasive species. I´ll also talk about other animals and special places, with examples from the UK and other parts of Europe. And, maybe, I’ll tell you about live as an expat, with its advantages, frustrations and incongruence.

I hope you enjoy my stories, and I look forward to hearing your views and opinions.