its population Iberian lynx (lynx pardinus), with a total of 1,365 specimens currently registered, including adults, sub-adults and juveniles born in 2021, set a new record, according to the annual report of the lynx working group coordinated by the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Combating Demographics (MITECO). ).
This is the best data recorded on Iberian populations of the species and represents an increase of almost 23% compared to the 2020 census., when 1,111 people were counted. Despite overcoming the most critical situation, the species is still officially considered ‘in danger of extinction’, according to the Spanish Catalog of Endangered Species.
The study showed that the Iberian lynx population continues its upward trend in recent years, now reaching the highest recorded specimen as there are monitoring programs for the species. Europa Press reported that the number of copies counted twenty years ago was less than 100.
The most distinctive feature or features of the felines, apart from the medium size, are the triangular ears with feathers at the ends, the small mane around the cheeks and neck, spots, the tail between 8 cm and 15 cm, and its furry structure. hunting since It can jump up to 5 meters away.
Twenty years ago, the Peninsula’s most emblematic mammal touched the numbers near extinction when its population barely exceeded 90 copies, making it the world’s most threatened cat.
In 1986 the species was classified as endangered on the Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list. Later in 2015, the same organization announced that the lynx had been blacklisted and classified as “endangered”. Although still classified as endangered today, experts say the Iberian lynx May be safe by 2040 if conservation efforts continue.
Distribution by autonomous communities
Of the 13 population centers registered in the Iberian Peninsula in 2021, 12 are located in Spain, with 1,156 samples. Of these 12 Spanish cores, five are in Andalusia (519 people), three in Castilla-La Mancha (473 people) and four in Extremadura (164 people).
In this way, Andalusia is once again the Spanish autonomous community governing population data, and almost half of the samples are scattered across the country. Again, The largest population growth was recorded in Castilla-La ManchaA community where population growth is around 45% in a year.
In the case of the Extremadura community, the main core is Matachel (121), followed by Ortigas (20), Valdecañas/Ibores (14) and Valdecigüeñas (9).
In Andalusia, the cores with the largest number of samples are Andújar-Cardeña (200 individuals) and Guarrizas (164), followed by Doñana-Aljarafe (94), Guadalmellato (44) and Sierra Norte (17).
In the Castilla-La Mancha example, the core of Montes de Toledo (221) stands out, followed by the Sierra Morena Oriental (170) and the Sierra Morena Occidental (82).
All the population parameters considered – total number of lynx, number of fertile females and number of offspring – show a “clearly positive” trend since coordinated action programs began in 2002.
500 births of 277 breeding females recorded in 2021. Overall productivity, understood as the number of litters born per breeder or territorial female, was 1.8 for Spain and 2.3 for Portugal. For Spanish autonomous communities, the proportion of offspring per female was 1.4 in Andalusia, 2.4 in Castilla-La Mancha and 1.4 in Extremadura.
“Still in Danger”
This overall evolution illustrates the favorable trajectory of the species that has driven the Iberian big cat away from critical extinction. However, the census data also shows the need to remain vigilant about the future of the species, ensure continuity in conservation programs and support the implementation of measures that contribute to the recovery of diverse populations of the Iberian lynx, according to the Ministry. in both countries. “Species still endangered and considered legally endangered in Spain’s Endangered Species Catalogue.“, the ministry reminded.
As members of the Iberian lynx working group, national governments – MITECO and Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas de Portugal in Spain – and regional governments – Junta de Andalucía, Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha and Junta de Extremadura – according to the ministry, over the past two decades they have developed “a sustained activity strategic to achieve these results in terms of species conservation”.
He also highlighted the proactive involvement of “equally decisive” nonprofits such as Miteco, WWF and CBD Habitat. Likewise, “also European funding has contributed significantly to the success of the programme. through different projects aimed at improving populations of species”.
The WWF rated the increase in the lynx population of over 20 percent compared to last year’s census as “very positive,” but also stressed that: this is the third consecutive year with a similar increase in the lynx population and stressed that the species continues to be under threat.
“Despite this significant increase, the lynx is still endangered and population still needs to be multiplied by 3 in 2040. To achieve this, we must continue to work to eliminate its main threats, which remain abuses and illegal death,” said Ramón Pérez de Ayala, project manager for the WWF Spain species program.
For the organization’s spokesperson, “While it may seem unbelievable, Even today, lynxes continue to die from being shot or from the illegal use of poison and traps.acts that cause an irreparable loss of lynx each year, such as a tie or trap, are considered crimes in the Criminal Code”.
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