Conservation status and Action Plan for the recovery of Iberian lynx populations in Portugal

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  • Pedro Bernardo Sarmento
  • Joana Cruz
  • Catarina Ferreira
  • Pedro Monterroso
  • Rodrigo Serra
  • Pedro Tarroso
  • Nuno Negrões


Publication details

Title of host publicationIberian Lynx Ex situ Conservation
DatePublished - 2009
PublisherFundación Biodiversidad
Place of PublicationMadrid, Spain
EditorsAstrid Vargas, Christine Breitenmoser, Urs Breitenmoser
Original languageEnglish
ISBN (Print) M-35518-2009


From the first half of the 20th century onwards, the Portuguese Iberian lynx population
was distributed in three major nuclei: Sado Valley, Malcata and Contenda-Barrancos.
In the following decades these areas were subjected to a process that culminated in
the specie’s considerable regression, probably as consequence of a major allocation of
potential habitat to forestry and of prey scarcity as a result of viral diseases. The most
recent survey, conducted from 2002 till 2004, revealed that the species is presently on
the verge of extinction. Aware of the critical situation of the Iberian lynx in Portugal,
the Institute of Nature Conservation and Biodiversity developed a Conservation Action
Plan for the Iberian lynx in order to provide a consistent and effective approach to
conserve the species in Portuguese territory. The on-going Action Plan is being applied
in all Natura 2000 Sites, located in the lynx historical distribution that present suitable
characteristics for the species potential presence or landscape features that can be
optimised for lynx survival and that can be relevant for the species life-cycle. The
goal of this Plan is to apply pre-release strategic reintroduction activities in order to
make it possible, in the long-term, the reintroduction of Iberian lynx. Integrated in the
plan, there are several ongoing conservation projects, which include habitat and prey
restoration and the construction of a breeding centre that will be integrated within the
overall Iberian Lynx Ex situ Conservation Programme

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