Seven Iberian Lynx cubs were born to two adult females this month at the Iberian Lynx reproduction centre in Silves.
This result is a positive boost for Portugal's only dedicated lynx reproduction centre and for the lynx themselves, as one of the most endangered cat species in the world.
The births started on 5 March when the female Biznaga gave birth to three cubs.
"Two of the cubs were abandoned (by the mother) one hour after the birth, so their survival depends on incubators and artificial feeding," said a spokesman from the Institute of Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (ICNB).
The third cub died after 48 hours, despite the mother having "demonstrated normal parenting care."
This was the second time Biznaga has given birth to cubs. Last year, she gave birth to two for the first time, but abandoned them after a few hours, which is considered normal behaviour for first time mothers of this species. These first cubs also died.
Aside from Biznaga, another female called Castañuela gave birth to four cubs on 6 March, which is very unusual as litters of two or three are the norm.
"Despite such large litters being very rare, this female shows great dedication and is caring for all her cubs," said the spokesman.
The Iberian Lynx breeding season started in December and will end in April. A total of nine pairs were chosen for breeding, with more cubs expected in the coming days.
Silves reproduction centre currently has 18 lynx, nine females and nine males, 13 of which arrived from neighbouring Spain when the centre opened in 2009. A further three were transferred to Silves at the end of 2010 and two at the end of last year.
This is the second year of reproduction at the centre in Silves, although no cubs survived from the first year.
"This year, things are going much better and we are hopeful," ICNB President, Paula Sarmento told Público, adding: "we are watching the mothers and the cubs 24 hours a day via CCTV."