Two lynx cats, both born in captivity, have been introduced into a reserve for the first time since the breeding programme began in 2005. They were released into an area located close to the river at the Jaen Guarrizas, Sierra Morena.
The two females, Granadilla and Grazalema, were both born this year at the breeding center near La Olivilla. At the time of their release both cats appeared nervous, a condition that could have been put down to the dozens of people who were present hoping to witness the historic occasion. They included representatives of the Ministry of Environment , journalists and relatives of the owners of the farms where the breeding was carried out.
Both animals are female but they will shortly be introduced to a male, Hail, who was bred in the Sierra Morena in the town of Andujar Jaen. It is thought that he will help facilitate the adaptation of the pair into the area.
According to programme director, Miguel Angel Simón, the reserve in which the animals are now being kept is an enclosure of four acres that has a population of seven rabbits per hectare. A record will be kept of their movement using GPS collars which will also provide a video surveillance system direct to an observatory located in the area.
Simón said that the three young lynxes will remain in the enclosure for a month and a half, a period that will determine whether or not they can be self-sufficient if released completely to the wild, or whether, by contrast, the must be returned to the breeding center where they will be looked after.
The area chosen for the introduction of the lynx was selected because of its high density of rabbits, the almost exclusive food of the Iberian lynx. In that area, according to a survey from the Institute of Social Studies of Andalusia, ninety percent of those involved in the scheme felt that the experience would be "positive", as highlighted by the Minister for the Environment, José Juan Díaz Trillo who also said that he appreciated the contribution of the scientific community, the staff of the Life programme and the collaboration of the owners of the farms in the conservation area.