More space in Portugal in pipeline for Iberian Lynx

By Carrie-Marie Bratley, in News · 13-11-2014 18:12:00 · 0 Comments
More space in Portugal in pipeline for Iberian Lynx

Following recent reports that two thousand hectares of terrain has been secured for the first reintroduction of the critically-endangered Iberian Lynx into Portugal, The Portugal News has this week learned that more negotiations are taking place to at least double the amount of land.

Last month it was revealed that Portugal could soon see the Iberian Lynx’s population resurrected after a deal was agreed to secure two thousand hectares of land to which the elusive animals will be reintroduced.
A few weeks ago, in a ceremony presided over by Portugal’s Secretary of State for Spatial Planning and Nature Conservation, Miguel de Castro Neto, contracts were signed between the Institute for Forest and Nature Conservation (ICNF) and the owners of land in the Guadiana Valley onto which the lynxes will be released.
In a statement sent to The Portugal News this week, the ICNF said more contracts are in the pipeline with a view to at least doubling the amount of land currently assigned for the recovery project.
“Other agreements of collaboration are also due to be signed to cover a total of at least five thousand hectares of potential land for the species to live on”, the institute explained.
It elaborated that “some of the cubs born at the CNRLI [breeding centre] in Silves [Algarve] have already been reintroduced successfully in Spain.

“Their reintroduction in the Guadiana Valley could be done with cubs from that same centre or from another Iberian centre as the programme works as a network with Spain and the best technical decisions, namely with regards to selecting the cubs for reintroduction and where they come from, are made jointly.”
The Iberian Lynx reintroduction programme, it was explained, similar to other animal conservation programmes the world over requires “a permanent monitoring of the animals released which includes marking them and following them with telemetry and photo-trapping.
Efforts to bring the Iberian Lynx back from the brink of extinction are based on a National Conservation Pact undersigned by the municipalities of Penamacor, Moura, Beja and Silves, by hunting associations and other private and public entities.
An associated project, SOS Wild Rabbit, has also been approved by the State Secretary Miguel de Castro Neto.
”Financed by the Nature Conservation Fund to a tune of €180,000, the project aims to find ways to stabilise the populations of what is the lynx’s main prey.”Among the main reasons behind the Iberian Lynx’s decline is a sharp drop in the population of its main food source (wild rabbit) as a result of disease, the loss of scrubland, its main habitat, to human development, including changes in land use and the construction of roads and dams.
The National Iberian Lynx Reproduction Centre (CNRLI) was inaugurated in 2009 in Silves, a project developed by the regional water board Águas do Algarve with the support of the Committee for Iberian Lynx Breeding in Captivity (CCCLI).
According to information from the relevant entities, in Portugal the situation of the lynx is only recoverable with a reintroduction programme and the Conservation Programme was developed with the collaboration of national and international entities.
The Silves conservation centre is therefore seen as a “fundamental contributor” towards achieving the goals of various national and Luso-Spanish programmes, which has seen investment in the region of €3.6 million.


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