Iberian lynxes released back into the wild
The prime feed consists of rabbits, but also other rodents and hares. The Iberian lynx lives in open Mediterranean forest and in maquis, both in lowland and mountainous areas, where many rabbits can be found.
The rise of agriculture diminished the habitat, but the Iberian lynx was able to survive in the mountainous areas. But the arrival of myxomatosis, that caused a large part of the population of rabbits to die, did the lynxes no good.
Small, separated groups still live in the south of Spain in the mountainous areas of the Sierra and in the wet nature areas of the Coto Doñana on the Atlantic coast.
In the Sierra de Andújar, the situation of the lynxes has been slightly improved over the last years, due to a rabbit breeding program, that uses large fenced off areas. These areas have natural growth and holes for the rabbits to breed.
The program LIFE is active in Spain and has the aim to prevent the extinction of the Iberian lynx. This year sixty Iberian lynxes were born in the wild and in the breeding centers. At the end of the summer of 2009, two couples of lynxes are planned to be released back into the wild together with some young animals.
Involved in the project are the Spanish government, the European Union and the WFF.
Image by the Programa de Conservación Ex-situ del Lince Ibérico www.lynxexsitu.es