Algarve project to protect Iberian lynx population receives European funding
The LYNXCONNECT project, which was submitted jointly by Spanish and Portuguese scientists, and which aims to increase the population of Iberian lynx and reinforce connectivity between the subpopulations of the two countries, was approved for financing by the “LIFE Action Grants”, announced today the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF).
According to the ICNF, the decision was communicated in May by the European Union to all partners, and this new project “passed the different evaluation criteria, both for consistency and technical-financial quality, and due to the added value for the European Union”.
According to the ICNF, LYNXCONNECT is “the logical sequence and evolution of the previous LIFE + Iberlince project, which took place between September 2011 and June 2018, within which the ICNF and other national public and private partners in the neighbouring country, with the indispensable support and welcome by the populations and local authorities of the Guadiana Valley, managed to reintroduce the Iberian lynx into Portuguese territory”, namely the Algarve and Alentejo, “with a stabilized character, which has not occurred since the end of the 20th century”.
In financial terms, explains the ICNF, “the project involves a total investment of 18.5 million euros, with the ICNF’s portion, headquartered in Silves, being slightly less than 1.5 million, with a financing rate of 60.67%, which translates to total Community funding of almost 11.4 million euros’.
The ICNF adds that, with this project, Portugal “intends to consolidate the population created between 2015 and 2018 in the Guadiana Valley, to establish small population centres that reinforce connectivity with the subpopulations of Andalusia, Castilla-La Mancha and Extremadura in Spain”.
It is still in equation, according to the institute, “the possibility of a new area of ??reintroduction, through the evaluation of potential territories that bring together the appropriate conditions of habitat, food, natural continuity and tranquillity and social acceptance for the establishment of a new population” .
In the context of LYNXCONNECT, according to the ICNF, “social promotion, awareness and information initiatives for local and urban audiences will be developed, along with other actions that will have indirect positive effects on the Mediterranean ecosystem and on the local economy, creating better living conditions for local populations and providing alternatives for sustainable development, for example, through nature tourism”.
The ICNF also stresses that, “from the experience obtained in the Guadiana Valley, the presence of the Iberian lynx in this territory, has resulted in several gains for the resident population or those that depend on it economically, their presence not having been a condition added, on the contrary, since it attracts visitors and started to represent a high quality and attractive brand for this region of the Guadiana Valley”.