The acting counselor for the Environment in the regional government of Andalusia, Jose Juan Díaz Trillo, met Monday with the president of the feline specialist group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Switzerland's Urs Breitenmoser, to analyze progress in the conservation of the species that his department has achieved in the framework of the Life-Lince Program.
The responsible ones for the Life Program in the Regional Administration have informed Breitenmoser about the evolution of the current conservation program. In this regard, the population of Iberian lynx has grown in 2011 to record a minimum of 312 wild animals, as reported in a note the Autonomous Government of Andalusia.
Urs Breitenmoser, co-president and chairman of IUCN's feline specialist group, is a researcher at the University of Bern (Switzerland), namely the Institute of Veterinary Virology, and is involved in research projects on the ecology of threatened carnivores worldwide.
Moreover, he is working with the regional government in the Iberian lynx conservation actions since 2001 and has worked designing strategies such as the lynx reintroduction plan in Andalusia.
Díaz Trillo explained to the responsible of IUCN that the data shows that the number of lynx in Andalusia has tripled in the past nine years through the efforts of the authorities and the success of measures implemented through the Life-Lynx, which have improved all populations of this species in Andújar-Cardena, Guadalmellato, and Doñana Guarrizas Aljarafe.
The census of Iberian lynx in Andalusia in 2011 has increased a 13 percent compared to the 275 lynx identified in 2010. The growth rate is 231 percent since 2002, when the population had 94 members. These data confirm the general trend of recovery experienced by the feline in recent years.
The Iberian lynx is the most emblematic endangered species in Spain and a symbol and a enormous challenge for conservation. A seteep decline had relegated them to two isolated populations in Doñana and Andújar, both in Andalusia's region, with around 60 and 200 individuals, respectively.
It is suspected that genetic factors might be behind recently observed decreases in survival and reproduction in this populations. Genomic researches will be helpful to improve the conservation programmes, in the Captive Breeding Centres and in the ex situ one, finding the specimens with genetic problems.