ICBAS - Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar

Porto is the region with most seagulls in the country

Metropolitan Area is drawing up a plan to respond to the phenomenon. Only in the cities along the Douro there are more than a thousand birds and they are breeding.

Never so many seagulls have inhabited the city of Porto. There will be between 1186 and 1626 seagulls flying over the Porto Metropolitan Area (AMP), according to the National Census of the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA). It is the largest number of seagulls in an urban environment in the country. And with bird breeding on the rise, the trend is to continue to rise. Matosinhos and Gaia also suffer from the problem, which translates into public health risks. A metropolitan plan to control the seagull population is being prepared, the report of which will be published shortly.

One of the measures that may be on the table is an eventual operation to remove eggs from the nests. However, as seagulls have an average life cycle of 20 years, the result of this work will take time to reveal itself. “In the late 1990s, seagulls began to expand to the north and exclusively to urban areas. When they successfully reproduce in a place, they always come back”, notes Nuno Oliveira, marine conservation technician at SPEA. The removal of eggs will always be “a lengthy process, which requires human and financial resources”, he adds, warning that during the first three or four years of life, seagulls do not reproduce.

Contamination Source
Easy access to food is the main reason for the movement of seagulls from the Center and South to the North of the country and their incessant reproduction is a risk to public health. That's the same alert that makes Adriano Bordalo e Sá, hydrobiologist and researcher od the Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar (ICBAS): “They have the same pathogenic bacteria in their excrement as we do and are a clear source of water and soil contamination and disease transmission”.

“The explosion of food availability”, almost “without limitation”, leads to an increase in the population of seagulls, points out Nuno Oliveira, who notes “a great effort to improve waste management and temporary storage”. Fishing waste also feeds these animals, particularly thanks to the amount of already dead fish that are returned to the sea.

“It's free food for the seagulls. And there are eight thousand fishing vessels in the country”, notes Nuno Oliveira. The first step, says Bordalo e Sá, is the launch of “a campaign not to feed the seagulls, in the same way that there was one not to feed the pigeons”. Nuno Oliveira agrees.

To decide on strategies to combat the problem, AMP launched, two years ago, a public tender, with a base price of 135 thousand euros, for the elaboration of a population control plan. That work will be over.

The last study, published in 2011, pointed to the decrease in available food as one of the solutions.

Source: Jornal de Notícias
Text: Adriana Castro


Photography Contest ‘Perspective(s) on One Health’

The Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar da Universidade do Porto (ICBAS), together with the Instituto Português de Fotografia (IPF), organizes the Photography Contest 'Perspective(s) on One Health'.

With the aim of promoting and disseminating the One Health concept throughout the community and civil society, ICBAS and IPF challenge participants to photograph their own perspective of the ‘One Health’ concept, combining art (photography) with science.

In total, between 30 and 40 selected photographs will be part of a traveling exhibition, to be opened in June at the Galeria da Biodiversidade of the University of Porto, passing through the Círculo Universitário, Centro Português de Fotografia (CPF), ICBAS, and ending in Metro do Porto at the end of the year.

In addition, the four best photographs are candidates for the following awards:

1st prize: SONY A7C Photo Camera Kit with 28-60mm lens (worth €2200)

2nd prize: FNAC Voucher (400€) + Voucher for photography course at IPF (330€)

3rd prize: Instax Square SQ1 Photo Camera and 20 photographs (150€) + Voucher for photography course at IPF (150€)

Honorable mentionVoucher for photography course at IPF (95€)

The contest 'Perspective(s) on One Health' takes place between the March 14 and April 17. Find out how to participate through the rules document.


ICBAS and CMIN launch a book to prevent pediatric obesity and diabetes

On March 4th, World Obesity Day, was launched the book Take care of yourself – Guidelines for a Healthy Life, within the scope of the project with the same name, developed by the Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar (ICBAS), together with the Centro Materno Infantil do Norte (CMIN).

Winner of the “Comunicar Saúde” Award from Ciência Viva – National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture, for its contribution to the health literacy of the population, the project “Take care of yourself – Guidelines for a Healthy Life” aims to alert to the dangers of pediatric obesity and diabetes, emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis, as well as the implementation of measures to prevent the development of chronic disease in adulthood.

“Child obesity and diabetes, which is directly associated, is one of the main health problems for children and adolescents. It is a problem that in Portugal has a very worrying dimension, with overweight and obesity rates very close to 30%, which places Portugal as one of the countries with the highest incidence of the disease”, warns Alberto Caldas Afonso, professor at ICBAS, Director of CMIN and responsible for the project.

The book aims to clarify concepts and doubts, so that everyone can understand how to adopt a healthier lifestyle. The contents were developed by a multidisciplinary team, with the aim of being understood and disseminated by the greatest number of people.

“Take care of you- Guidelines for a Healthy Life” is aimed at all children, adolescents, families and schools. Through simple, appealing and didactic content, it alerts to the importance of an early diagnosis and the establishment of measures that can prevent conditioning of chronic illness in adult life.

“This book focuses on easily understandable, very practical content that will allow its use in everyday life. For the younger ones, an interactive game was also designed that challenges them to answer the questions presented in the book”, explains the coordinator of the work.

Taking into account the impact of social networks on teenagers, videos were also developed with two 'influencers' - the actress Madalena Aragão and the player of Futebol Clube do Porto, Francisco Conceição -, which show how diet and physical exercise allow them to maintain an optimal daily performance.

In order to reach school communities across the country, ICBAS partnered with Missão Continente, which included the book in the contents of itsu educational program (Escola Missão Continente). In this way, it is intended to reinforce the message of the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle to Pre-School, 1st and 2nd Cycles of Basic Education.

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