The decline of Wild Rabbit populations, habitat destruction, non-natural mortality and inbreeding, led the species to the brink of extinction; in 2002 only two isolated nuclei remained, with less than 50 mature individuals.
Since 2002, three consecutive LIFE projects supported the IbLx recovery. Remnant nuclei were consolidated between 2002 and 2010. Between 2010 and 2017, two former nuclei were recovered through reintroductions and became consolidated and fully connected with Andújar-Cardeña remnant nuclei. In 2014, four nuclei were reintroduced outside Andalusia, which are not consolidated nor connected yet.
More than 250,000 hectares of private and public lands, whose owners and managers became engaged with the IbLx conservation, have been subjected to habitat management and reinforcement of Wild Rabbit populations actions. Non-natural mortality rates have significantly diminished due to the implementation of roadkills prevention measures and awareness-raising actions for hunters, landowners and local people.
However, despite sustained recovery in the last 17 years, IbLx long-term viability is still compromised mainly by demographic and genetic factors.
The forth LIFE project, LYNXCONNECT, is developed in this context. This new project will complement ongoing conservation plans funded by national and regional environmental authorities by implementing 33 novel strategic conservation actions focused on consolidating and connecting incipient nuclei to assure long term demographic and genetic viability and by ensuring efficient transnational coordination.