Dan Ward has just sent me the latest and as usual excellent Lynx Brief (pdf). This issue looks at:
- The serious situation for the lynx in Doñana whose population seems to be going from bad to worse. He calls for an action plan to combat:
– High traffic speeds and volumes
– Habitat loss to intensive agriculture
– Apparent mismanagement of protected areas
– The population’s small size and low diversity
– Conflicting attitudes amongst local people
This is all undoubtedly true but I personally feel the greatest threat to the lynx in Doñana is the extremely low rabbit population across the park which is forcing young lynx to disperse into conflictive areas. Despite being increasingly hemmed in by infrastructure, Doñana is still big and wild enough to support a far larger and almost sustainable lynx population than now, as indeed it did until myxamatosis arrived.
- The Iberian Lynx captive breeding programme is advancing well, both in terms of more captive breeding success, and in terms of actions and plans made for: further captive breeding centres, and; the planned reintroduction of captively bred animals in the future.
- Lynx presence in Cuidad Real, Castilla-La Mancha with a population of 15 individuals, including 3 reproductive females, 2 adult males, 4 sub-adults and 6 cubs
Cuidad Real province borders the area of northern Andalucía with current lynx presence (Andújar – Cardeña). This, combined with the fact that extensive surveys conducted over previous years failed to confirm lynx presence, suggests that the lynx in Castilla-La Mancha are individuals dispersed from northern Andalucía rather than a separate remnant population. Unofficial suggestions have been made that the photographed lynx come from a specific private hunting estate bordering Andalucía in southern Cuidad Real province, which, if true, would confirm the hypothesis that these animals dispersed from Andalucía. Unfortunately, however, the regional government has
refused to confirm the precise location of these lynx. The Castilla-La Mancha government has justified withholding this information so as to protect the lynxes’ habitat. However, the reverse would seem to be true. The precise location of lynxes in Andalucía has been widely publicised for several years without apparent detrimental impact upon their habitat. Moreover, it would seem that accurate and openly-available information about lynx presence has been key to allowing effective lynx conservation in Andalucía through co-ordination, lobbying, conservation projects, research and outreach.
Also check out Dan’s recommendation for the new soslynx.org website with some beautiful photos and videos.