A rare Iberian lynx has been spotted close to the city of Barcelona for the first time in a century. The animal was initially reintroduced into Portugal, which means it has travelled no less than 1100km to end up on the edge of Catalonia, on the coast of Spain!
A rare Iberian lynx, named Lithium has appeared on the edge of Barcelona after travelling for more than 1100km from the south of Portugal, where it had been released two years earlier.
The young male lynx was spotted for the first time in the Algarve Valley in 2016, a few days after it was released into the wild during a project to save this species in danger of extinction. The GPS signal emitted by its collar disappeared for almost two years, so scientists didn’t know where he had been.
But recently, he became the first Iberian lynx to set foot in Catalonia in 100 years, according to data collected by naturalists who were following his trail, after having received visual witness statements from hikers and backpackers.
In order to avoid a huge crowd of curious people, the Spanish authorities decided to keep the precise location of the lynx a secret. But they nevertheless published two photos of the animal online. In the photos, we can see this magnificent feline, still wearing the tracking collar, relaxing in the shadows provided by the foliage and looking in good shape.
Now, the members of the lynx rehabilitation program, IberLince EU, are working to capture the wildcat in order to release it into a more appropriate area of Spain. At the moment, the animal is somewhere near the city of Barcelona, which is a dangerous area for him due to the heavy traffic and human activity.
Even if the lynx seems to have adapted to this environment surrounding Barcelona; the authorities can’t let it live in this dangerous and especially isolated area, where it won’t be able to find a female to mate with.
Save the species!
Born in captivity in 2014 in a facility in the region of Andalucía, in the south of Spain, the lynx Lithium was released for the first time into the wild in 2015 but faced with the inability to adapt to the wilderness. So, naturalists captured and placed him in a facility so he could regain his strength and learn to fend for himself.
Once he was bigger and better adapted to the outside world, he was released a second time.
In 2002, there was no more than 92 Iberian lynxes left in the whole of Spain as well as Portugal. But efforts to save the species have had positive impacts since 2017, judging from the latest estimations that there are now 589 lynxes in the wild!