Lince Moura/Barrancos - Recovery of Iberian Lynx habitat in Moura/Barrancos Site

LIFE06 NAT/P/000191

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Eduardo SANTOS
Tel: +351 217 780 097
Fax: +351 217 783 208
Email: programa.lince@lpn.pt

Project description:


The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is currently considered Europe's most threatened carnivore and the world's most threatened feline. Endemic to the Iberian Peninsula, the species is listed as priority for conservation in Annex II of the Habitats Directive, the Bern Convention and the Spanish and Portuguese national red data lists of vertebrates.

The destruction of the lynx's preferred habitat – Mediterranean woodland – the increasing scarcity of its main prey, wild rabbit, and poaching have contributed to the decline in the lynx population over the last few decades.

Historical data show that in the mid-nineteenth century the Iberian lynx was found throughout the Iberian Peninsula. In 1960 it was confined to the southwest corner of the Peninsula. In 1980 Portugal's Iberian lynx population was put at around 50 individuals. This population is now thought to live in small, sparsely spread pockets and possibly faces problems of population viability. Until the beginning of the project, the last confirmed presence of the species in Portugal had occurred in 2001, near the Portuguese-Spanish borders (serras de Ficalho-Preguiça-Malpique-Adiça) through analysis of Lynx excrement. Currently, specialists believe that some isolated individuals could exist that are disconnected to their mother populations.


The project aimed to restore and maintain key areas of Iberian lynx habitat and the connective corridors between them through the promotion of long-term effective conservation measures and the raising of awareness of the feline’s needs within the Moura/Barrancos Natura 2000 site.

The project site is one of the most likely places in Portugal where isolated individuals could be found due to its proximity with the Spanish Andalucian border. This site contains areas of habitat suitable for lynx or areas that might be improved in order to insure the recovery or reintroduction of the species in the medium/long term. These areas are crucial to the maintenance and the equilibrium of the meta-populations.

The strategy for Moura/Barrancos was to link core areas of lynx habitat to allow the species to expand its habitat range, together with the creation of good shelter and feeding conditions (rabbit populations). All the actions would be aimed at protecting and improving Mediterranean habitat and lynx prey species such as rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus).


Although the project faced many challenges – the distrust of local people and land owners initially, and the destruction of a considerable part of the work as a result of adverse weather near the end of the project – almost all the foreseen objectives were successfully achieved.

The project tried a new and innovative approach to the proposal of management measures that don’t require compensatory payments for land owners and managers. This is one of the reasons for the small reduction in the amount of contracted land area (7 694 ha) from what was foreseen in the proposal (10 000 ha). However, this reduction did not affect the implementation of the management tasks foreseen or their potential effectiveness.

As a small size project implemented over a wide area, it had an important demonstration value for the local land managers. It showed how to create better conditions for the development of the wild rabbit population: 100 rabbit shelters, 72 water suppliers, 15 small pools and 120 feeders were created. It also improved natural feeding conditions by sowing 60 ha of pastures, and natural refuge by planting 3 200 trees and bushes, protecting 650 existing ones and seedling 10 000 holm oak as well as recovering riparian habitats (10 km of bank rivulets were fenced and 500 trees and 200 bushes were planted).

One especially important achievement of the project was the implementation of public participation programme in a region so adverse to nature conservation issues and the planning and promotion of the Natura 2000.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Conservation Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Mammals


endangered species‚  animal corridor‚  protected area‚  restoration measure

Target species

 Lynx pardinus     

Natura 2000 sites

SPA PTZPE0045 Mourão/Moura/Barrancos
SCI PTCON0053 Moura / Barrancos



Coordinator Liga para a Protecção da Natureza
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description LPN, a non-governmental public utility, was founded in 1948. It was the first environmental defence association to be created in Portugal and its main objective is the conservation of the country’s natural heritage, its biodiversity and ecosystems.
Partners Fauna & Flora International (FFI), United Kingdom Centro de Investigação e de Intervenção Social (CIS), Portugal


Project reference LIFE06 NAT/P/000191
Duration 01-OCT-2006 to 31-DEC -2009
Total budget 493,443.00 €
EU contribution 370,082.00 €
Project location Alentejo(Portugal)


Read more:

Brochure Press kit (1.2 MB)
Leaflet Folhelto 1 do projecto (1.5 MB)
Leaflet Folheto 2 do projecto
Poster Project's poster
Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Conservation Plan After-LIFE Conservation Plan
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Technical report Project's final technical report


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