Nine more Iberian lynx kittens have born in the Algarve in the past 72 hours. The new litters of the lynxes Fresa, Juncia and Juromenha came to join the two that had been born last week and increase to 11 the total number of lynx kittens born so far in 2020 at the National Centre for Reproduction of the Iberian Lynx (CNRLI), in Silves.
On Thursday, the 9th, at 6:56 pm, Fresa, 11, gave birth to a litter of four cubs, the result of her pairing with Drago. Fresa is one of the founding females of CNRLI, a centre run by the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF), created in 2009.
She was born at the Centro de Cría de El Acebuche, in Doñana, and despite having been spared from annual reproduction in the past, as she was diagnosed with kidney problems in 2010, “to date she has given birth to 20 pups, of which 10 have been reintroduced into the wild”. “It is her third litter of four offspring that will be able to raise her total contribution to the recovery of the species in the wild to 14 animals.”
Drago, a male founding lynx of the CNRLI and born in 2007 in El Acebuche, has fathered 29 offspring at the CNRLI. Of these, 14 have been reintroduced into the wild, with the 4 born recently raising his total future contribution to 18 offspring reintroduced into the wild.
“Both mother and cubs are doing well, and are developing normally,” revealed the ICNF, the entity responsible for the CNRLI, which is financed by the Portuguese State jointly with the company Águas do Algarve, within the scope of environmental compensation measures for the construction of the Odelouca Dam.
On Friday, the 10th, at 4:48 am, “Juncia started giving birth, which would eventually result in 3 offspring, after her pairing with Fresco, a male founder of CNRLI and born in 2010 in the same litter of the female Fresa”.
Juncia, born at the Centro de Cría de La Olivilla, in 2012, arrived at CNRLI in 2016. “It is her second litter at CNRLI, having produced 3 young in 2017, which were reintroduced into the wild. These 3 new offspring will increase her total to 6 offspring invested in the recovery of the species in its natural habitat. Fresco has already contributed 25 pups, of which 16 have been reintroduced” stated the ICNF.
24 hours later, Juromenha gave birth to two young, as a result of her pairing with Madagascar. “Juromenha is the first female born in the CNRLI to give birth within the Iberian Lynx Ex Situ Conservation Program. It is also one of the first two Iberian lynxes that were artificially created by the CNRLI technical team, having survived her mother’s abandonment alongside her sister Janes, shortly after their birth in 2012.
Biznaga, one of the emblematic females of the CNRLI and who he will have reached the end of his reproductive life this year later accepted both abandoned offspring, teaching both his adopted lynx-daughters how to hunt and behave like an Iberian lynx.”.
Madagascar, on the other hand, the father of the two cubs of the Juromenha litter was born in 2015, in the wild, in the lynx population of Doñana, having been later integrated in the Ex Situ Conservation Program. “He arrived at the CNRLI in 2016 and is currently the most genetically valuable male in the Ex Situ Conservation Program and is already the father of 8 offspring in the CNRLI, 2 of which were retained for genetic importance and replacement of breeders for the future and 4 were reintroduced in nature”. This year he was paired with Juromenha, but also with Era, “who has a predicted birth due date of 18th April and will, as a result, be the most genetically important litter of 2020 in the Program.”
Since 2009 and up to the end of 2019, 122 lynx had been born, 89 of which survived and 69 were reintroduced into their natural habitat, from the centre, located in the parish of São Bartolomeu de Messines, in Silves. The centre is one of the stations of an Iberian network of recovery of the Iberian lynx, working alongside a Spanish counterpart.