Kayakweru, the Iberian lynx found dead a month after her release into the wild near Mértola over a month ago, was “poisoned”, tests have confirmed.
It is believed her “inexperience and hunger” may have led her to eating a poisoned piece of meat, reports Expresso newspaper.
Beja’s Public Prosecutor’s Office is said to have already opened an investigation into how this could have happened.
Fears that Iberian lynxes were being released to the wild “much too soon” were all but confirmed when Kayakweru’s body was found in forestland on March 12.
Environmentalist association Quercus had warned of rushing things. Not enough had been done to check lynxes would be compatible with agricultural/forestry activities, it said, and information had been “excessively simplified” in the environment ministry’s zeal to get a feather in its cap before the autumn elections.
It was still was not clear, for instance, whether the area would supply wild cats with a sufficient number of healthy rabbits to live on (rabbit being the lynx’s staple diet).
The Iberian Lynx breeding programme has released a number of breeding pairs into the wild, both in Portugal and Spain.
Kayakweru was released in February with her ‘mate’ Kempo.