A couple of interesting recent developments on the old presence of the Eurasian lynx in Spain and its hopeful reintroduction. It is thought the animal would have co-existed with the very edge of the Iberian lynxes range in northern Spain and the Pyrenees.
The possible presence well into the 20th century of the so-called gatillop in the Catalan Pyrenees as the animal is known in Catalan has long been discussed. There is now a Catalan government plan, as yet to be carried out, to release Eurasian lynxes in the Vall D’Aran in the Pyrenees. More here (2016)
Evidence now shows that the Eurasian lynx existed in Northern Spain in the Cantabrian mountains until at least 400 years ago. (2015 RTVE)
A short summary of some news about the Iberian lynx in 2016:
On the postive side:
176 Iberian lynx have been released into the wild since 2009.
40 more will be released in different areas of Andalucia, Extremadura and Portugal in 2017. Specifically these areas are:
- Portugal: Vale do Guadiana, Mértola
- Spain : Valle de Matachel, Badajoz; Montes de Toledo, Toledo; Sierra Morena Oriental, Ciudad Real; Guadalmellato, Córdoba and Guarrizas, Jaén. More here
19 Iberian lynx cubs were born in 2016 in the subpopulation of Castilla-La Mancha. More here
48 cubs were born in captivity in 2016. Here
13 lynxes have been killed on roads so far in 2016
Iberian lynx has the lowest known genetic variety in any mammal. Here
Stamps showing amphibians of Spain. 1975.
Common salamander, Marbled newt, European Tree Frog, Midwife Toad and European common frog.
Iberian lynx stamps and first day cover from Portugal. The bottom one also has a stamp with its favourite prey; the rabbit
The false mountains of Montserrat in Ciutadella Park, Barcelona, Pablo Picasso, 1895-1896.
The number of registered hunters in Spain as of 2015 was 333,000, a fall of 24% in 5 years, a trend that has continued for the last 30 years. And those that still still hunt do so less. Rural depopulation is clearly a factor though I suspect the biggest reason is that the rural youth are losing interest as there are just more things to do today. El País.
I had a student a few years back whose father ran a farm some 70km to the north of Barcelona. Although Pere’s father stopped hunting many years ago, most of Josep’s friends still hunted – mainly wild boar, but none of their children – Pere included – had taken up the pastime. My partner Mónica also pointed out that many younger women are no longer prepared to do all the back work, that which never gets mentioned, involved after hunting such as skinning the hares and plucking the partridges.
Image of wild boar hunt from a Roman mosiac found in Mérida [Mosaico de Las Tiendas (MNAR Mérida)]
A Spanish Shepherd (1863) by Liverpool-born Richard Ansdell. The artist had travelled in southern Spain in the 1850s.