Iberian Lynx population has exponentially grown since works to prevent the species extinction started in 2002.
Population size and distribution range growth have occurred relatively “orderly” during those works, both in the 2002 remanent areas and in the reintroduction areas created later. However, as is to be expected in a species such as the Iberian Lynx, an indeterminate number of individuals has dispersed throughout the Iberian Peninsula, and some of them have settled in areas outside the scope of the species conservation projects.
As it is explained here, the connection between the different subpopulations is currently one of the main objectives of LYNXCONNECT. When these settlements occur naturally between subpopulations, the project considers them “stepping stones" and assesses the convenience of implementing the management it deems necessary. On other occasions, natural settlements may occur in areas outside the scope of LYNXCONNECT, and the project does not work on the monitoring or management of these territories.
This introduction put into perspective the data offered in this Census, in which all the currently available information on the species' population status is presented. Although the source of most of this information is the LYNXCONNECT project itself, the data not collected by the project in areas where it does not monitor the species are also included.
The map shows the species’ subpopulations and natural settlement areas in 2021 and the locations where LYNXCONNECT will create the subpopulations foreseen in the project.
Doñana-Aljarafe and Andújar-Cardeña are the remanent populations in 2002, the ones that avoided extinction.
Guarrizas and Guadalmellato were initiated during LIFE LINCE (2006-2011) and today are fully consolidated (with at least 15 breeding females).
Matachel, Vale do Guadiana, Campo de Montiel and Mantes de Toledo were initiated during LIFE IBERLINCE (2011-2018) and currently are also consolidated subpopulations.
Ortiga is a natural settlement area considered a reintroduction area after being assessed by the corresponding protocol.
Las Minas, Setefilla, Pegalajar, Valdecañas-Ibores and Valdecigüeñas-Río Sotillo are also natural settlement ares. Most of them will likely be considered stepping stones once they are assessed by the corresponding protocol.
We consider that Andújar-Cardeña, Guarrizas, Guadalmellato and Campo de Montiel subpopulations function as a metapopulation, Sierra Morena Oriental, with regular gene flow between them.
Finally, Guadalmez could also be considered a nucleus of Sierra Morena Oriental. LYNXCONNECT does not directly monitor this subpopulation, so the information available for this area is not fully comparable to the rest of the data presented in this census, but it is considered sufficiently rigorous to be incorporated in it.
|Vale do Guadiana||Portugal||31||70||209||462|
|Campo de Montiel||Castilla-La Mancha||30||66||170||1.020|
|Montes de Toledo||Castilla-La Mancha||42||104||221||924|
|Península ibérica||España y Portugal||277||500||1.365||4.452|
It can be complex to analyse the long-term evolution of the species in each subpopulations and natural settlements, as the latter are generated from individuals whose origin is, in many cases, unknown. Thus, the size and area occupied by each subpopulation vary according to births, mortality, immigration and emigration.
Moreover, as some subpopulations grow, monitor them closely becomes much more complex.
Thirty lynxes have been released in 2021 within the reintroduction areas created in previous LIFE projects and in a new stepping stone. Those lynxes have been bred in captivity and have been released straightaway into the wild (without pre-release enclosure).
Montes de Toledo: 8 specimens; Vale do Guadiana and Matachel: 7 specimens; Campo de Montiel: 4 specimens; Guarrizas: 3 specimens; Las Minas : 1 specimen.
The graph shows the annual evolution of the percentage of specimens released versus the total population. The graph uses the cumulative total of releases, i.e. the sum of all releases up to a given year, including the released specimens that have died. Those lynxes that, for any reason, have been released more than once in the same or different subpopulations are counted just once.
The series starts in 2010, when reintroductions began in Guarrizas, although two specimens had been previously released in Doñana for genetic reinforcement.
In 2014 reintroduction started outside Andalusia.
In 2021 we have detected 107 dead specimens.
The graph shows the distribution in % of detected mortality causes. It is important to notice that 1) the probability of detecting individuals that die from different causes is highly variable, which has led to overestimating roadkill rates and underestimating poaching or pathologies rates, and 2) for some specific causes of mortality, the probability of detecting a radio-tagged specimen is much higher than that of a non-radio-tagged individual. Therefore, the graph shows the distribution in % of the causes of mortality obtained exclusively with the data provided by radio-tagged individuals (n=25).
As mentioned above, the detectability of roadkill is very high regardless of whether the specimens are radio-tagged or not. The graph below shows the trend of the relative weight of roadkill versus population size each year over the last ten years.