Two More Iberian Lynx Are Released In To Nature
Yesterday, two more Iberian lynx were released in to the wild, in the Algarve, as part of the program to reintroduce the species into nature, increasing the number of animals already released in the region to four.
The Iberian lynx was on the verge of extinction in the Iberian Peninsula, due to habitat degradation and lack of food sources, but the work carried out in captivity at breeding centers in the ICNF National Lynx Breeding Center, located in Silves, Algarve and La Olivilla, in Andalusia, Spain has allowed the species to recover.
Male Salão and female Sidra, both 13 months old, were released in countryside near Alcoutim, between the towns of Pereiro and Fonte Zambujeira de Cima, in the Guadiana Valley, slightly further south than the area the first two lynx were returned to in February this year.
The Minister of the Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, watched the release of two cats and praised the success that the Iberian lynx breeding and conservation program has had over the years, thanks to the work of the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests. (ICNF), which oversees the project in Portugal, but also to the owners of the land selected for this purpose.
“The lynx is an endangered species, but this has been a very successful program in the Iberian Peninsula, and in our country in particular. I remember that in the 1990s we had a population of around 100 Iberian lynx and currently we have around 1,100 Iberian lynx, between Portugal and Spain, more than 200 in Portugal”, said the official.
Duarte Cordeiro stressed that the work carried out by ICNF at the Iberian Lynx Recovery Center in Silves has been articulated with the other existing center in Spain and is ensuring the “expansion of the Iberian lynx territory”.
“And it is very important that this program continues to have the success it has had, which shows that these programs to support the conservation of species make perfect sense and are also a reference and an example for other species that deserve equal treatment”, he assured the project “will have all the support it deserves to continue”.
After the release in Alcoutim, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Action went to the ICNF National Lynx Breeding Center in Silves, where an Iberian Lynx Training and Recovery Complex (CTRLI) was presented.
The center has two training pens to “check whether the young lynx destined for release in their natural habitat (about 10 months old) have adequate physical and behavioral conditions for their subsequent survival”.
The center, costing around 600,000 euros, also allows the team to “temporarily host, treat and recover specimens of Iberian lynx from nature, sick or injured, in viable recovery conditions, and biosafety conditions”, said the ICNF.