There is another couple of Iberian lynxes “living” in Alcoutim [with video]

Sidra and Salao were released near Pereiro, in a tourist hunting area

One of the freed lynxes – Photo; Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação

At 15 pm on Tuesday, May 00, everything was ready to receive Sidra and Salao, a couple of Iberian lynxes that were released in the tourist hunting area of ​​Pereiro, in Alcoutim.

The animals, with thirteen months of life, were, from the moment they were born, «trained to be afraid of humans and to hunt», thus being able to survive on their own.

"When we release them into the wild, the hunting effort they will have is very similar to what they had in the training centers, precisely because they are trained not to wait for food to be offered", explained to journalists Nuno Banza, president of the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF).

Upon arrival at the place in the municipality of Alcoutim where they were released, dozens of people were already waiting for them, including a group of students from the Alcoutim School Group, as well as Duarte Cordeiro, Minister of the Environment and Climate Action.

After helping to release one of the animals, which ran at full speed, moving away from the humans, Duarte Cordeiro stressed to journalists the importance of the moment.


António Eusébio, Duarte Cordeiro, Castelão Rodrigues, João Paulo Catarino, Osvaldo Gonçalves, João Portugal Ramos, Nuno Banza and Pedro Coelho – Photo; Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação


«Today we witnessed an extraordinary moment that was the release of two Iberian lynxes. First of all, thanks are due to the owners [of the tourist hunting area], to João Portugal Ramos, and to ICNF, for developing this project with great success. I remember that, in the 90s, we had a population of around 100 Iberian lynxes and, currently, we have around 1100 in Portugal and Spain, more than 200 in Portugal», the official began by saying.

Also present this Tuesday was João Portugal Ramos, manager of the tourist hunting zone, with whom the minister signed a protocol. Portugal Ramos insisted on emphasizing that «the agreement, which consists of releasing two more Iberian lynxes in this ecosystem», is only possible «due to the great will of 850 owners» that what they do is «manage these hectares, promoting the balance of species".

«Balance is the fundamental term and I believe that we, the hunters, are the ones who are most aware of the balance of the species. I think this is the real rural world, which has several players: the owners, in the first place, we, hunting managers, in second, and the ICNF, which found the ideal place, given the ecosystem that was created here, to launch two more lynxes," he added.

This is the second time that a pair of lynx has been released in the Algarve, after the release, last February, more or less in the same area, of earthquake and Senegalthat the Sul Informação followed.

So that the release could be carried out in this region, Nuno Banza, from ICNF, explains to journalists that further monitoring work is necessary to understand what «feeding, reproduction, distribution and the way in which the lynx are adapt to the territory”.


Photos; Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação


«We have a vast team that, at the moment, already includes professionals from the Alentejo and Algarve, which promotes the monitoring not only of animals that are marked and that have collars with radio transmitters, but also of animals born in the wild and that, by observation direct or photo-trapping, end up making it possible to follow the evolution of the population as a whole», he continues.

According to Nuno Banza, the lynx, despite being a «generalist predator», ends up having areas of «relatively fixed distribution and occurrence, which allows consolidating the population and expanding the distribution area, both from the territorial point of view, or from the point of view of genetic exchange between animals on the ground'.

This is also a relevant aspect because «only genetic diversity can we have a viable population» and the expectation of «coming to consolidate its area of ​​occurrence».

Currently, there are more than 200 lynxes that are part of the Portuguese population in the wild – an encouraging number, but that does not allow, for the moment, to say that the Iberian lynx is no longer on the verge of extinction.

«We would like to believe that all the work that has been done will allow the Iberian lynx to be saved from extinction. As you know, this is the world's most successful experience in terms of the reintroduction of an endangered species, but we are always facing an unstable balance and, therefore, we need time», highlights Nuno Banza.