Great news to hear that 23 Iberian lynx have been cubs born in 2021 at the breeding centers of El Acebuche, in the Doñana National Park (Huelva) and in Zarza de Granadilla (Cáceres).
Fifteen males and eight females in total with 10 males and 2 females born in four litters in the Zarza de Granadilla facilities and the remaining 11 cubs (5 males and 6 females) in the El Acebuche centre from four litters.
Since the creation of the captive breeding project, 238 Iberian lynx have been born in the centers of which 150 have been released in the different areas of the Iberian Peninsula where reintroduction and / or reinforcement actions of the species are being carried out.
An interesting feature during the early weeks of Iberian lynx litters is that they go through a phase of aggressive behavior with each other at around seven weeks of age in which the cubs establish their hierarchy based on aggressions that can sometimes can end with the death of one of them. The good news is that five of the eight litters have now passed this aggressive phase and the technicians of the centers are confident that the remaining three will also go through this phase without any issues.
The next phase in the lives of the cubs is to decide whether they remain in captivity as part of the breeding programme as reproducers or if they will be prepared for release into the wild.
In 2021, a total of 27 lynxes have been released within the Iberian Lynx breeding program with four individuals coming from El Acebuche and five from Granadilla. (The remaining from other breeding centres in both Spain and Portugal)
An all-time high for the species
As a result of joint efforts to conserve the Iberian lynx over the last 20 years, the most recent study shows that the lynx population in Spain and Portugal has reached an all-time high for the species with a count of 1,111 recorded in both Spain and Portugal (Iberian peninsular) according to the date from 2020. Remember that in 2002 fewer than 100 specimens were counted giving it the name of the “Most endangered feline in the world” so this recent news now places it as one of the most successful conservation programs for felines in the world.
The El Acebuche Iberian Lynx Breeding Center, in the Doñana National Park has registered four litters with 11 cubs born this 2021 breeding season which has now finished. This is double compared to last year even though of the 7 pairs at the centre only 4 females gave birth. The eleven cubs are in perfect health though there is one that is being hand reared as the mother showed no interest in caring for it.
The Iberian Lynx “ex situ” captive breeding center, located in Almonte (Doñana Natural Park) has registered the birth of four new lynx cubs born at the El Acebuche breeding center.
The news was published on the Facebook page of the captive breeding program.
The breeding season in the Lynx Ex-situ Conservation Program continues and new births are expected in the coming days.
For the current breeding season of 2021, 28 breeding pairs have been established in the ex situ conservation program of the Iberian lynx in various breeding centres and it is estimated that around 40 cubs will be born this year.
Read more about the Iberian Lynx on the Wildside Holidays Nature information pages:
Of the Iberian lynx born in captivity in 2020, 27 individuals will be released into the wild in 2021.
Six have already been released with two in the Guadiana Valley Natural Park (Alentejo, Portugal) and another four in the reintroduction areas of Castilla La Mancha (two in Polán,Toledo and two in Torre Juan Abad, Ciudad Real.
These lynx will only be around year old when they are released so I guess that they will face some troubles in finding their place in the wild but it is hoped that they will survive well and continue on to find mates.
The most recent census shows that the lynx poluation in the wild of Iberia stands at 894 individuals.
All the lynx are given a full vetinary check up and are fitted with tracking collares before they are released.
Time will tell but with issues regarding the education of people in the areas where the lynx is expanding and food supply (rabbit) we still may see a struggle for these newly released specimens.
The monitoring and veterinary team for the protection of the Iberian lynx recently fitted GPS tracking collars to several of the cubs born in 2020 at the El Acebuche Iberian lynx breeding center close to El Rocio in Huelva province.
They have also had full medical exams and once the results of the analytics are obtained the cubs will be approved for release later this year in Portugal, Extremadura and Castilla-La Mancha.
Quite a few people are commenting about the size of the collars being fitted with some going as far to say thay they are cruel and stop the lynx from hunting. Others say they should have reflective strips on them to help them being seen at night on roads.
I presume the tracking collars are this large and bulky size to help with identification of individuals at a greater distance.