Achieving the conservation goal of moving the Iberian lynx from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ status, as per the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, requires 750 breeding females in the wild. If this target is reached, it would represent a remarkable recovery of this critically endangered species.
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.
Of the Iberian lynx born in captivity in 2020, 27 Iberian lynx to be released 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.