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Reintroducción Lince Andalucia - Conservation and reintroduction of the Iberian lynx in Andalucia

LIFE06 NAT/E/000209


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version  
 

Contact details:

Project Manager: Miguel Angel SIMON
Fax: +34 955 00 37 75
Email: miguelangel.simon@juntadeandalucia.es; dggmn.secretaria.cma@juntadeandalucia.es]



Project description:

Background

The Iberian lynx is the most threatened carnivorous mammal in Europe. This medium-sized feline (8-14 kg) lives in areas characterised by a mixture of dense woodland, Mediterranean scrub and pasture. It benefits from areas with an abundance of its main prey, rabbits, and where interference from humans is minimal.

Up to the 19th century, the species could be found in all the regions of Spain and Portugal. However, since then its population and distribution area suffered decline, which reached alarming levels in the last decades of the 20th century, mainly due to rabbit epidemics and loss of habitat. By the turn of the millennium, barely 100 individuals survived in the wild in only two unconnected populations in Spain: Andújar-Cardeña; and Doñana.

This catastrophic trend was partially reversed by the previous LIFE project ‘Lince Andalucía - Population recovery of Iberian Lynx in Andalusia’ (LIFE02 NAT/E/008609). This project succeeded in improving numbers as well as genetic diversity of the Iberian lynx sub-populations. Key achievements included the exchange of individuals between the sub-populations and the development of a captive breeding programme. The project considerably increased rabbit numbers in key territories through managed breeding, release and protection. Essential habitat improvement measures were agreed through collaboration with landowners and hunters.

However, although the 49% increase in the population achieved created optimism, it still left the Iberian lynx with a population of less than 190 individuals. The two sub-populations remained isolated from each other and too many deaths were being recorded as a result of road accidents in the animals’ territory. The species remained classified as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.


Objectives

This follow-up project aimed to build on the successful stabilisation of the Iberian lynx populations in Spain to deliver a global and comprehensive strategy for the conservation of the species. It sought to involve every relevant sector and cover all appropriate issues to achieve:

  • maintenance and stabilization of the existing populations
  • increase in the number of individuals
  • creation of new territories
  • connectivity between isolated sub-populations
  • improved genetic diversity amongst populations.
  • Specific actions foreseen included the translocation of specimens from Andújar-Cardeña to Doñana. A particular challenge of the project was to successfully attempt the first ever introduction to the wild of Iberian lynx bred and raised in captivity. It also sought to achieve self-sustainable rabbit populations in all Lynx distribution areas and in those areas destined to future reintroductions.

    The project planned to accompany all these actions with a wide and comprehensive awareness-raising campaign helping to improve attitudes towards the lynx and decrease some of the threats to its survival.


    Results

    The Andalusian Lynx Introduction project has very significantly contributed to the recovery of the Iberian lynx, helping to both increase and extend populations. The success of the project is demonstrated by the decision of the specialist cat group of the IUCN to downgrade the classification of the species from ‘critically endangered’ to ‘endangered’.

    To enable the appropriate management of more than 200 000 ha of target territory for the Iberian lynx, the beneficiary built on the improving co-operation between public authorities, NGOs and hunters associations developed in the earlier LIFE project. It specifically agreed land stewardship agreements with 147 private estates, providing an excellent example of land custody arrangements for sustainable management.

    Management actions delivered included: lease of hunting rights; reduction of cattle; compensation schemes for damage caused by lynx; supplementary feeding and drinking stations; lynx enclosures in reintroduction areas; artificial shelters for breeding; adaptation of roads and paths; fences to prevent grazing by ungulates; and clearing of vegetation, pruning of trees, sowing of pastures and fertilisation of land.

    The project worked to enhance the habitat of existing areas of distribution of the Iberian lynx as well as preparing new areas for reintroduction of the species. Individual lynxes bred in captivity were released into the wild at carefully selected areas to create new populations. The project also undertook specific measures to enhance rabbit populations, including the construction of shelters and captive breeding stations and the reintroduction of populations to target areas.

    These management actions achieved the following specific results:

  • reduced fragmentation of lynx habitat – notably achieving connectivity of the two sub-populations of Sierra Morena
  • preparation of important new areas for reintroduction of the species – including potential long-term areas in Extremadura
  • two new populations established at Guarrizas and Guadalmellato (Andalusia)
  • total number of wild lynx increased to 326 individuals by 2011 – including the doubling of the population in Doñana after years of stagnation
  • the total surface occupied by Iberian lynx in Andalusia increased from 510 km2 in 2006 to 979 km2 in 2011
  • the genetic pool of the populations was improved with the breeding of reinforced individuals in Doñana with animals from Sierra Morena
  • a positive recovery of rabbit populations in target areas, despite ongoing impact from the hemorrhagic virus disease
  • reduced risk of road kills in the area of Doñana, with a considerable number of kilometres now lynx-proof, including the construction of two new ecoducts
  • habitat benefits also for additional priority species including the Spanish Imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti) and Black vulture (Aegypius monachus).
  • A large number of awareness-raising activities were undertaken, reaching thousands of people; however it remains an ongoing challenge to increase public understanding of and support for the measures undertaken. Scientific dissemination was well targeted through international congresses and networking.

    The approval of the Recovery Plan for the Iberian Lynx in Andalusia was a major policy milestone, which ensures the legal protection of the species and secures the continuity of actions initiated with this project. Support for long-term management has been foreseen through grants approved under the FEADER programme. Other activities not linked to recurrent management, will be carried out with a new LIFE project ‘IBERLINCE’.


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    Environmental issues addressed:

    Themes

    Species - Mammals


    Keywords

    endangered species‚  protected area


    Target EU Legislation

    • Nature protection and Biodiversity
    • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

    Target species

     Lynx pardinus     


    Target Habitat types

    • 2250 - Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp.
    • 6310 - Dehesas with evergreen Quercus spp.

    Natura 2000 sites

    SCI ES0000050 SIERRA DE HORNACHUELOS
    SCI ES0000053 SIERRA NORTE
    SCI ES4320013 GRANADILLA
    SCI ES4320039 SIERRA DE LAS VILLUERCAS Y VALLE DEL GUADARRANQUE
    SCI ES6130001 SIERRA DE CARDEÑA Y MONTORO
    SCI ES6130005 SUROESTE DE LA SIERRA DE CARDEÑA Y MONTORO
    SCI ES6150009 DOÑANA NORTE Y OESTE
    SCI ES6150012 DEHESA DEL ESTERO Y MONTES DE MOGUER
    SCI ES6150023 DEHESA DE TORRECUADROS Y ARROYO DE PILAS
    SCI ES6160005 DESPEÑAPERROS
    SCI ES6160008 CUENCAS DEL RUMBLAR, GUADALEN Y GUADALMENA


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    Beneficiaries:

    Coordinator Junta de Andalucía. Consejería de Medio Ambiente
    Type of organisation Regional authority
    Description The Consejería de Medio Ambiente (Junta de Andalucía) is the regional administration in charge of nature conservation.
    Partners Junta de Andalucía: Consejería de Agricultura y Pesca, Spain Junta de Extremadura: Consejería de Agricultura y Medio Ambiente, Spain Asociación de Propietarios y Productores de Caza de Andalucía (APROCA), Spain Asociación Empresarial de Criadores y Titulares de Cotos de Caza de Andalucía (ATECA), Spain Ecologistas en Acción-Andalucía, Spain Federación Andaluza de Caza, Spain Fundación CBD-Hábitat, Spain Sociedad Española para la Conservación y Estudio de los Mamíferos (SECEM), Spain WWF-Adena, Spain Junta de Andalucía: Consejería de Obras Públicas y Transportes, Spain

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    Project reference LIFE06 NAT/E/000209
    Duration 01-AUG-2006 to 28-FEB -2012
    Total budget 25,971,489.00 €
    EU contribution 9,869,166.00 €
    Project location Andalucía

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    Read more:

    Project web site Project's website (ES)
    Publication: After-LIFE Conservation Plan Plan de conservación del lince ibérico
    Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Anejo A.11 - Plan de Recuperación del lince ibéri ...
    Publication: Layman report Informe layman
    Publication: Management plan Plan de Recuperación del lince ibérico de la Comun ...
    Publication: Proceedings Proceedings of the III Iberian lynx Conservation S ...
    Publication: Technical report Project's Final technical report

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    Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version