I write to ask if you would be able to produce an update on the progress and achievements of the Wild Lynx Breeding Centre that was opened a year or so ago on the bald hillsides opposite the ridge on which we live, between Silves and Messines.
I understand that two kits were born at the centre earlier this year, neither of which survived more than a few days, and I also remember reading that a virus had affected around half of the animals that had been imported from a centre in Spain. However, for the past month there has been no sign of life, feline or human, that has been apparent to us, on the site and I begin to wonder if the Centre has become yet another example of an expensive, well meant but ill-thought out project that has bedevilled the province in recent years. Shades of the cork museum at Fábrica do Inglês in Silves spring to mind…
I do hope that you will be able to reassure your readers, and ourselves, that all is well, that the vast amount of EU money spent on the project has not been wasted and that the number of examples of Europe’s rarest and most endangered mammal housed at the Centre has not diminished.
Perhaps then we might soon hope to see (or read about, as the centre is closed to the public), successes on the breeding programme to make up for previous losses.
My thanks in anticipation,
Louis J. Rutter
S.B. de Messines
Editor’s note: Dear Louis, thank you for your email. According to information obtained by the Algarve Resident this week, the centre currently houses eight male and eight female lynxes and is preparing for the 2011 reproduction season. They continue to exchange animals with Spanish centres in the hope to improve matches and, therefore, stand more chances of breeding the species.