Easter hopes for Iberian lynx

Two Iberian lynx kittens were born last Easter Sunday at the Iberian Lynx Reproduction Centre in Silves, raising hopes for the survival of the species, which is close to extinction.

The Iberian Lynx Reproduction Centre opened last May with a couple of adult lynxes brought from Spain.

The centre was built by the regional water authority Águas do Algarve, as a compensatory measure for the building of Odelouca Dam, and is working in close cooperation with similar centres in Spain.

The five year old mother, Azahar, was born in the wild at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain and the father, Drago, who is three years old, was born in captivity in La Olivilla in Spain.

The Iberian lynx is one of the world’s most endangered species with only around 200 animals reported in the world. The species was no longer found in Portugal due to the destruction of their natural habitat from rural and urban development as well as the decline of rabbit population, its main prey, due to disease.

Environment Minister Dulce Pássaro said this week that she hopes to see these felines roaming free again in Portugal in the future.