Four breeding pairs of the rare and endangered Iberian lynx have been brought together for the first time at the pioneering reproduction centre in Silves.
It is hoped that the move, which began last week, will enable the pairs to begin breeding in captivity in the coming year.
The National Captivity Reproduction Centre for the Iberian Lynx (CNRLI) currently has 16 pens with 16 lynxes which were brought in to the centre at Herdade das Santinhas from Spain, between October 26 and December 1 last year.
From these, only eight were chosen as potentially good breeding pairs and have already been given names: Azahar and Drago, Erica and Enebro, Era and Calabacín, and Espiga and Daman.
“The last pair has yet to be put in the same pen together and it’s been a gradual process throughout the past week. Now we have three pairs together and expect to bring the fourth pair together shortly,” Sandra Moutinho, Press Officer at the CNRLI told the Algarve Resident.
“We don’t expect that any lynx will be born this year, but it’s best to get the couples interacting early and monitor their progress.”
The four breeding pairs were chosen taking into account genetic and chemical factors and, according to the CNRLI, “all is running smoothly and the animals are not showing signs of stress.”
The eight lynxes form part of a wider group of 54 animals that are to take part in the CNRLI’s ambitious breeding programme which aims to save the rare cat from extinction.