The University of Cordoba has just joined the LIFE LYNXCONNECT, a multidisciplinary team will use the chemical navigation signals of the Iberian lynx to create artificial scent corridors to connect the different populations within the European project LIFE LYNXCONNECT, coordinated by the Junta de Andalucía.
The University of Cordoba team working on the project is led by the researcher Guadalupe Gómez Baena who, together with the researchers Jesús Díez Dapena, Elisa María Espinosa López, Beatriz Ortiz Guisado, Evangelina Rodero and Ana Molina, specialists in Biochemistry, Ethology and Animal Welfare, will work within action 10 of the project with one main objective: to take advantage of the navigation signals used by the lynx during breeding to create scent paths that connect the different populations. To do this, the UCO researchers will identify these chemical signals, synthesise them artificially and fine-tune their use in the field.
“One of the main objectives of the project is to connect different populations,” explains Guadalupe Gómez Baena, “if we identify which signals the animals use to move around the breeding territory and synthesise them, we could guide individuals from one population to another, connecting these populations by using signals that they synthesise naturally.
This team will work on the project until September 2025 and will spend the first year completing the analysis at the molecular level starting with the candidates they have already identified in urine markers, and the second year conducting the field experiments. The final test will be to create the odour corridor through artificial signals and test whether the animals follow those signa
The researcher stresses that “over the last few years, our group has been studying the molecular basis of chemical communication in the Iberian lynx, a fundamental aspect for understanding territory marking and navigation of the Iberian lynx in its natural environment”. This is complemented by the knowledge of the other members of this multidisciplinary group on animal behaviour and welfare.
The creation of these scent trails designed by the UCO will be one more of the actions that the LIFE LYNXCONNECT project will develop to connect nuclei located in Andalusia, Castilla La Mancha, Extremadura and Vale do Guadiana in Portugal. The connection of these nuclei, together with the creation of two new nuclei, Sierra Arana in Granada and Altos de Lorca in Murcia, will contribute to improving the demographic status of the species.