About Lynx Pardinus, Biodiversity Conservation short task
Conservation of Lynx pardinus in the Iberian peninsula
· General related information:
Carnivore Feline of the Iberian peninsula, the Lynx pardinus also called Iberian Lynx, or Spanish Lynx, is a strict feeding specialist, the European rabbit means its basic diet, conditioning the develop of the populations to Mediterranean shrubby areas, 3,5- 10m^2 per individual, with high densities of rabbits for hunting. It’s seasonal and solitary lifecycle determinates its behavior, being nocturnes, and crepuscular hunters, and more active during Winter, than Summer.
They are very territorial, and reproduction only occurs when the females has its own territory, even when they are reproductively actives since the first year. The breeding can give rise up to 4, normally 2 litters, which are independents at 7–12 months, but remains in its native territory up to 20 months, nevertheless, only 1 or 2 lynx per female survive to self-sufficiency after dispersal.
· Conservation status:
According to the IUCN, exist constancy of published Red List assessments since 1965, being catalogued as “Endangered” until 2002, when was catalogued as Critically Endangered after the flogging of poaching and habitat destruction, with a total population of only 62 individuals.
In 2015, again catalogued as Endangered D (Population size estimated to number fewer than 250 mature individuals)
The main threats and concerns for the reintroduction of the Iberian lynx are the rabbits density, rabbit and lynx diseases, road accidents, poaching, and genetic variability.
See this interactive Map of Deaths with the different causes of the Lynx pardinus in the Iberian peninsula.
According to the census of 2015 by “Iberlince”, the actual population of Lynx pardinus in the Iberian peninsula is 404 individuals thanks to several reintroduction programs, such as the National Strategy for the Conservation of the Lynx Pardinus (es) and the Ex-situ Program(en), or the Action Plan for the Captive breeding of the Iberian Lynx(es), grouped in the Proyect LIFE+ IBERLINCE between Spain and Portugal and supported by the EU
The Iberian lynx is fully protected in Spain and Portugal, by the Bern Convention and the EU Habitats and Species Directive.
Other no-governmental associations involved are WWM, SECEM, CBD-HABITAT foundation, IBERLINX, ADENEX, APROCA, FAC, AGROFOREX, FOMECAM, ACAJÚ.
· Manange Plans and Actions:
The Ex-Situ program, part of the National Plan, is focused on the captive breeding, genetic and demographic management of the captive population, management of a Biological Resource Bank (BRB), but also preparing captive-born animals for release, as well as capacity building, education, and outreach efforts. The main goal of this program is the maintenance of the 85% of the actual genetic variability for the next 30 years to make sustainable the genetic load of the founders for the captive breeding and reintroduction of the specie.
The National Plan complete this: reducing the disappearing or alteration of habitat, monitoring the habitat and potential threats, tracking of population, location, selection and adjusting new areas, genetic exchange between population, enhancing the rabbits population, acting against illegal hunting, use of traps or poisons, health control over lynx population and other relevant populations (Rabbits).
· Personal View and Conclusion:
The current population of Iberian Lynx is located in 2 split areas in Spain: Doñana and Sierra Morena, in the South of Spain and another new area in Portugal, is mandatory to expand the areas in which this specie can develop.
Nowadays the natural breeding is limited to the Space available, since females doesn’t breed until they has its own space, which only occurs during long displacement(high mortality risk) or by vacating of territories (after death or fight).
Other limiting factor is the Rabbit population, highly exposed and threatened by the Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease, the hunting, and the destruction of habitat, this specie is also threatened, considered as Vulnerable by the IUCN, this also difficult the proper reintroduction of the Lynx pardinus.
Another limiting factor is the Road casualties, which is in fact the mayor cause of dead, it can be prevented with physical mechanism(barriers, signposting, alternative ways), sound-based and bright light-based mechanism(use of threatening sounds or bright lights to drive away animals from roads during pass of vehicles).
Climate Change for the next 50 years must be also considered in the reintroduction of the specie due to the potential changes in the lynx’s habitat, if we don’t make a genetic selection considering this fact, the Lynx won’t be able to adapt fast enough.
My personal concern is the Genetic deterioration, without a strong community of genetic founders none of this actions will give rise to the sustainable conservation of the specie, here , the Ex-situ Program has the most critical and important paper for the reintroduction of the Lynx , which will have a risky and difficult conservation.
http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/summary/12520/0 (Lynx pardinus) (EN)
http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/41291/0 (European Rabbit- outdated) (EN)
http://thevirtualmuseumoflife.com/mapa-lince (interactive map of deaths and causes)
http://www.circulaseguro.com/prismas-para-evitar-el-atropello-de-animales/ (ES) (bright light to avoid the crashes with animals in roads)
(Spanish government plan for the Lynx pardinus)
Vargas, A., Sánchez, I., Godoy, J., Roldán, E., Martínez, F., & Simón, MA. (eds). 2007. Plan de Acción para la cría en cautividad del lince ibérico: Cuarta edición. (Iberian Lynx Captive Breeding Action Plan: Fourth Edition). Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Madrid. www.lynxexsitu.es/documentos/pexsitu/plan_de_accion.pdf. (ES)
“Adapted conservation measures are required to save the Iberian Lynx in a changing climate” D.A Fordham, H.R. Akçakaya