Endangered Iberian lynx to return to Spain’s Murcia region

TWO pairs of endangered Iberian lynxes will start prowling around remote high areas above Lorca on March 3 to start the project of reintroducing the animal in the Murcia region.

The ultimate goal is to settle five breeding females in the region.

The first two males and females will get a ‘soft release’ in an enclosed area so that they can get used to the local surroundings.

The project is costing €1 million, with the Murcia government contributing 40% and the rest provided by the European Commission.

The aim is to establish a new breeding population to not only increase the lynx numbers, but also to engineer genetic diversity.

The loss of natural habitat, snares, illegal hunting and being hit by cars have all factored into creating an environment which is extremely challenging for them to live.

Just 94 Iberian lynxes were counted as living in the wild in Spain back in 2002, but over two decades later, that number is well over a thousand.

The Lorca lynxes will be in the Sierras del Gigante-Pericay, Lomas del Buitre-Rio Luchena and Sierra de la Torrecilla.

The area covers around 225 square kilometres and has a low human population density.


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