Iberian Lynx “could leave endangered species list” within decades

In just three years, the Life+Iberlince project has succeeded in boosting populations of Iberian Lynx in Spain and Portugal so that the species is no longer critically-endangered (click here).

Talking in Beja, experts say it’s only a matter of time (“some decades”) for the big cats to become free of any kind of threat status.

Numbers living in the wild in Portugal are up from one in 2014 to 75, while Spanish districts have several hundred.

According to the last census, numbers across the board are up to 640 (from just 90 in 2003).

The Portuguese regions with free-living lynx are Mértola, Serpa, Castro Verde and Almodôvar (Alentejo) and Alcoutim in the Algarve – all of them part of the Parque Natural do Vale do Guadiana (PNVG).

As a result of 40 ‘releases’ from breeding centres in 2014, there have been 55 cub-births and 13 ‘deaths in the wild’, excluding eight ‘disappearances’ and one animal that travelled over the border to Spain.

Said Pedro Sarmento of the ICNF (institute of nature conservation and forestries, one of the collaborators in the project) once the process of reintroducing lynx has succeeded in releasing 30 breeding females into the Portuguese wild, it will stop. This could happen by 2022.

“From then on, there could be natural colonisation by lynxes born in the PNVG which could start to occupy other areas of Portugal and Spain”, he said – adding that that would be the time for conservationists to ponder “new areas of introduction” within Portugal.

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