This year’s Iberian lynx breeding season has ended with the birth of 23 new cubs in Spain’s two breeding centres of El Acebuche (Doñana National Park in Huelva) and Zarza de Granadilla (Cáceres).
The parks managed by the National Parks Autonomous Agency (OAPN), are part of the Iberian Lynx Ex-situ Conservation Programme which was started in 2002 to reverese the trend in the animals population.
Among this seasons Lynx Pardinus births, there are fifteen males and eight females which will now join the 27 lynx that have been released into the world this year as part of the Iberian Lynx breeding programme.
The OAPN has been part of the Iberian Lynx ex-situ conservation programme since its inception. In fact, it was at the El Acebuche centre in Doñana, where the first litter of Iberian lynx bred in captivity was born.
To date, 238 Iberian lynx have been born in centres managed by the OAPN, of which 150 have been released into the wild in different parts of the Iberian Peninsula where repopulation programmes are in place.
Iberian lynx litters undergo an aggressive behaviour phase at around seven weeks of age, in which the cubs establish their hierarchy through aggression that can end with their death.
The lynx programme, which is also run with neighbouring Portugal, is being seen as a success with a ten fold increase in the population size to around 1,100 across both countries, since 2002. according to data from 2020.
It is believed that this is one of the most successful cat conservation programmes in the world.