The matter is not as serious as the title might indicate. This is the release of two Iberian lynxes, Sidra and Salão, born and raised in a Recovery Center for the species, in neighboring Spain, and now returned to nature in the Algarve.
Before starting, it is necessary to make a declaration of interests: the scribe is from the time of “Save the Lynx and the Serra da Malcata”, he is part of that dangerous sect of environmentalists and played a small role in contesting the construction of the dam of Odelouca, which “forced” to take compensatory measures, one of which was the construction of the National Iberian Lynx Reproduction Center, within the municipality of Silves.
After this clarification was given, I was naughty to watch a release (Portuguese language is very treacherous) of lynxes. I had already missed one, just a little, but I finally got the information that there would be another one, this Tuesday.
It was announced that I would introduce protocols, ministers, official entities, but the desire was strong and nothing would stop me from going there. And it was far away (for a barlaventine…) because it was in the northeast of the Algarve, close to Pereiro, Alcoutim.
And there, very early on, I and another dangerous environmentalist shook up, but, just in case, we decided to boost local commerce and have lunch in Alcoutim, with a superb view of the Guadiana River.
Close to Pereiro, we were getting ready to observe a sea partridge that had been mentioned in a small dam nearby, when we saw some ICNF (Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas) jeeps pass by. We didn't even hesitate, we put the stuff in the car and, afraid of getting lost, we went right after them.
And we arrived at the release site. Apart from the nature watchdogs, we were the first. Armed with binoculars and cameras, we were a little intimidated when the media started to arrive, as the technical paraphernalia, in terms of machines, lenses, cameras, etc., was impressive.
More people continued to arrive. People from the area, school kids, many nature watchdogs, official entities, the Minister of the Environment and other interested parties. Everyone behaved well: the speeches were quick, the protocols were also signed (on this part you can read the report here), the organization was organized so that the lynxes were not disturbed, namely by asking the staff not to do noise and respect the instructions to give them space.
Well, I was forgetting, the essence of this was the lynx. And it was cute: first, the minister and a girl from the school release the male, the Salon. He quickly crossed the terrain in front of us like an arrow and ducked into the woods. With binoculars I was still able to see it, but the animal is really confused with nature.
Next was the female, the Cider. I could no longer see how the release went, I only saw the animal follow precisely the same path as the male and, in my opinion, they had already arranged the little arrangement while they were on the transport.
Some loose phrases that I was hearing: “Well, I saw the animal, but I thought it was too big to be a cat. I told my husband…”; “I have to take a picture of the lynx, otherwise my son won't let me in the house today”; “Stôr, we are going to make a video!”.
In the end, applause was clapped and everyone was satisfied. Me too, despite not having appreciated the animals well, with the concern of making a video to make the grandchildren jealous.
Oh, and on the way back, we were always able to see that sea partridge…
Here's the video:
Video: Jose Brito
Photos: Sonia Cruz