The Iberian lynx population in Spain tripled in the last nine years and has reached from 94 to 312 members. This increase is mainly due to the conservation projects, which have succeeded in increasing significantly the number of specimens in every area: Andújar-Cardeña, Guadalmellato, Guarrizas y Doñana, reported the Environment Department of the Andalusia Autonomous Government.
The most remarkable evolution happened in Doñana, where the population of iberian felid has broadened from 41 in 202 to 88 in 2011. Moreover, the occupied area has increased by 240% and the number of territorial females (19, two more than last year) suggest that Doñana's population could be slowly coming out of its critical situation.
In this regard, the last researchers in Doñana's sector demonstrate that the increase of the linx occupied area is directly related to the actions taken to improve the habitat and the rabbit populations, its main prey.
Furthermore, the most remarkable fact for some years now is the foundation of a new population in the area of Aznalcázar-La Puebla, in Seville's province, where 14 linx lives.
The genetic changes occurring in endangered species might increase their extinction probabilities. Low population sizes leads to reduced genetic diversity and increased inbreeding. A low of genetic diversity means a reduced ability to adapt to environmental changes. Inbreeding is often associated to reduced reproduction and survival. Genetic factors might thus play an important role in species extinction -and therefore in their conservation.
Molecular genetic markers are often used to assess the genetic status of endangered species and populations. This information is then used to elaborate conservation plans designed to maximize genetic diversity and minimize inbreeding.