In a statement, the National Nature and Forest Conservation Institute (ICNF) said the Lynx, named Neco, was found by a resident on the road linking Mértola and Corte Gafo de Cima, in the district of Beja.
The Iberian Lynx, endemic to Spain and Portugal, is the world’s most endangered feline species. In 2002, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) its population had dwindled to around 100 individuals, but a captive breeding programme has since increased that figure to around 400.
“The animal, which showed signs of recent death, was collected by a Guard of the Alentejo Department for Nature and Forest Conservation at around 12.30am on Thursday and will be sent for autopsy to determine all the factors potentially related to its death,” the ICNF said.
The lynx, according to the ICNF, had been released on Wednesday morning on private property near the Guadiana River and in an area of high wild rabbit density and was wearing a radio collar.
According to the ICNF, this was the 26th lynx in the new population of Iberian Lynxes in the area and that it was the first Lynx reintroduced in Portugal to be run over.
The Lynx population in the Guadiana Valley is becoming established and consolidated and includes seven breeding females and wild births for the second consecutive year.