Iberian lynx completes “incredible journey” from Spain returning to Silves birthplace

After reaching Portugal in June following a modern-day incredible journey of 500km from Spain, Khan the Iberian lynx has gone even further and returned to his birthplace in the Algarve. The extraordinary trek saw the big cat travelling through mountains and swimming across the Tagus and Guadiana rivers to make his way home to Silves.

A delighted Silves council has announced that Khan was detected in the north of the borough on September 23, 10 months after being released into the wilds around Castilla-La Mancha.

Says Portugal’s Nature and Conservation Institute (ICNF), he started moving west shortly after his release. He began by travelling through “mountain areas in the National Park of Cabañeros before reaching the La Jara region”.

Khan then crossed the Tejo and made his way down south to the province of Toledo before arriving in the province of Cáceres in February.

ICNF says the lynx reached Portugal on June 28 after swimming across the Guadiana. He is being tracked through the GPS collar that lynxes born in breeding programmes are fitted with.

As to where this incredible lynx is headed next is anyone’s guess.

Brother Kentaro has shown similar “homeward bound” tendencies, last being tracked in Vimioso, in the north of Portugal.

Meantime, conservationists are celebrating footage that shows the first Iberian lynx cubs to be born in the wild since their parents were released in Spain last year.

The video can be seen on the online version of an article by Spanish newspaper El Mundo, which reports that the population of Iberian lynx is now up to 320. In 2002, numbers did not even each 100.

By MICHAEL BRUXO michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com

Photo by: ICNF – CNRLI