The latest figures for Iberian lynx appear to be promising. There are now estimated to be between 200 and 250 individuals (including cubs) in Andalucia. 44 cubs were born this year in the two encalves of Sierra Morena and Doñana. Added to this is the possible existence (sorry, still need to be convinced on this) of a population in Castilla-La Mancha (CLM), made up of 15 animals (six cubs and nine adults). According to CLM authorities these lynxes were first detected in July 2002 and have since been “located” on 45 occasions. What is strange is that the official 2004 census ruled out the animal’s presence in CLM after 14,571 photo traps. If true, however, there are now between 215 and 265 Iberian lynx in Spain in the wild.
There are also now 37 individuals in the captive breeding centres which is to be increased to 60 breeding animals by 2010-, guaranteeing 85% of the genetic variability which existed in the wild in 2004. Some of these animals are to be sent to Portugal, Extremadura and Castilla-La Mancha for their own breeding programmes. The Portuguese government has begun to build a centre in Algarve and hopes to release lynx into the wild in the Algarve by 2019.
Note: there is considerable skepticism, to say the least in the Spanish natural history community about the CLM lynxes because of the way the news was released, the weird videos and the lack of coordination. Here’s what some people on the linceforo are saying.
Photo from Lynx Recovery Programme