A male, Salao and female, Sidra, both 13 months old, were released in the municipality of Alcoutim, between the towns of Pereiro and Fonte Zambujeira de Cima, in an area of the Guadiana Valley located further south than the one chosen in February for the release of first two who were returned to nature in the Algarve region.
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.
“The lynx is an endangered species, but it has been a very successful program in the Iberian Peninsula and in our country in particular. I remember that in the 1990s [of the 20th century] we had a population of around 100 Iberian lynxes and currently we have around 1,100 Iberian lynxes, 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 centre 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 added.
Verge of extinction
The Iberian lynx was on the verge of extinction in the Iberian Peninsula, due to habitat degradation and a lack of food sources, but the work carried out in captivity in the breeding centres of Silves and Spain has allowed the species to be recovered, which already has more than a thousand animals in the Iberian Peninsula, 200 of which in Portugal.
Duarte Cordeiro assured that the project “will have all the support it deserves to continue”.