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Conservación del lince ibérico

Adamuz (Spain)

The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is a brown and gray predatory cat native to the Iberian Peninsula. It is a small mammal, with the male typically weighing 15 kg (about half the size of the Eurasian lynx). It has broad paws, a short tail ending in a black band, black tufts at the tips of the ears, and long “sideburns” framing the face. The fur is covered with black spots that are characteristic of each lynx and allow experts to identify each individual.
Due to hunting, habitat loss and a sharp decline in wild rabbits (the lynx’s preferred prey), the Iberian lynx was on the brink of extinction in the early 2000s with only a hundred individuals left in the wild. Since then, several important conservation actions have been taken, based on territory and prey conservation, but also on the continuous reintroduction of captive-born specimens into the wild. It is only in recent years that the risk of extinction has been averted, although the species is still classified as “critically endangered.”

In the areas managed by Alpasín (Adamuz, Spain), we were already involved in conservation projects before the reserve became part of SKUA Wild Network. We guarantee the continuation of these actions in the coming years.

Seguimiento y mejora del habitat

Since 2015, when we began monitoring and restoring the habitat of the Iberian lynx, we have been working non-stop to protect the species.

In 2016, thanks to our technical expertise, the owners of Umbría Baldárrago estate and LifeLince Project signed the Land Stewardship Agreement after up to 5 different Iberian lynxes were spotted on the estate during the summer and autumn.

After reaching an agreement to conserve the wild rabbit population, improve its habitat and carry out an environmental education project in the municipality of Adamuz, our company requested permission from the landowner, as well as from the Head of Progetto LIFE and the Ministry of the Environment of the Region of Andalusia, to install several photo hides in the same area where the Iberian lynx is protected.

A few months after the presentation of reports and projects in which we had already participated, such as the reintroduction of the Spanish imperial eagle or the project for the conservation of the Bonelli’s eagle, we obtained permission to set up portable photo hides in the areas with the greatest activity and presence of the Iberian lynx.

Environmental protection is a strategy aimed at preserving, balancing, or even enabling the natural, scenic, and cultural values of a given area beyond existing legal protection. Protection means the joint work of two or more parties with an interest in the conservation of natural heritage and biodiversity, agreed on a voluntary basis.

In the case of the Iberian lynx, the protection of the environment takes the form of a cooperation agreement between the land management authorities – public administrations and some non-profit organizations – and the owners, managers or hunting societies of the areas covered by the project LIFE+IBERLINCE. This is supported by the Spanish state legislation Ley 42/2007, del Patrimonio Natural y de la Biodiversidad.

Since the beginning of 2017, Alpasín has offered the opportunity to photograph the Iberian lynx in its natural habitat achieving excellent results with our clients.

Compromisos

The goal of environmental conservation is to awaken in landowners the responsibility to conserve and use natural resources wisely over the long term. The main commitments made in the agreement are:

  1. protect the lynx and its habitat.
  2. ensure that their habitat is free of traps and snares.
  3. promote better monitoring in the reserve.
  4. facilitate lynx control and monitoring.
  5. provide land for habitat improvement and management measures.
  6. balance land use with the needs of the lynx and promote a positive attitude towards the species.
  7. respect, in the long term, the actions carried out by farms within the framework of the projects LIFE Natura.

Since the beginning of 2017, Alpasín has offered the opportunity to photograph the Iberian lynx in its natural habitat achieving excellent results with our clients. Each year, our company has transferred part of the profits from the photo sessions to the owner of the property to further improve the habitat of the wild rabbit and, consequently, the Iberian lynx.

In 2019, as part of our project, we asked the authority responsible for managing permits to photograph endangered wildlife (Junta de Andalucía) for permission to build a permanent hide in the area where we had previously worked with portable hides. After several months of reports and visits from technicians of Progetto LIFE, we received permission to build a new hide that will allow us to photograph the Iberian Lynx (and many other species in the area) in safer and more comfortable conditions.

In 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, we added an area to the photo hide with 2 bunk beds and a chemical toilet to make the stay comfier. We also installed two permanent drinkers, one on the ground for the mammals and one in an elevated position near the hide for the birds, to make the sessions and the waiting for the Iberian lynx more dynamic with the presence of dozens of species of insectivorous birds, passerines, picids, corvids, etc.

 

In 2021, we continued our collaboration with Progetto LIFE and helped monitor new specimens in the Adamuz region. We shared the information from our photo traps placed both on the estate where our photo hide is located and on other estates where we have additional hides, such as the Santa Cecilia estate, where there is a special hide for the Eurasian eagle-owl, and the presence of the Iberian lynx is high.

We also assisted in the capture-mark-recapture of the cubs in the area to improve identification, health check, and learn about progress made in the habitat of the Iberian lynx.