Reintroduction of the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus): a preliminary case study in Extremadura, Spain
Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) reintroductions are part of this species’ conservation program to ensure its re-establishment and survival in areas of historical presence. Release protocols include hard-release, directly in the field, and soft-release, allowing reintroduced animals to acclimatize to the new environment site, which may lead to higher survival and reproductive rates. During soft-release reintroductions in Extremadura (Spain), we recorded individual and social behaviors of four released Iberian lynxes in a 1.5-ha enclosure, divided into three longitudinal strips to simplify behavioral data collection: zone 1, or releasing area, containing an additional feeding point; zone 2, or central zone, with rocks and natural rabbit refuges; and zone 3, or the farthest zone from the releasing area, of abundant arboreal vegetation. Our results showed that “pacing”, “lying” and “patrolling” were the most common behaviors observed in the four lynxes. Social interactions such as “approach”, and “lordosis” were the most common and indicated significant differences between individuals. Concerning sexes, males exhibited the behavior “showing indifference,” unlike females that never presented it. Data collected revealed that the lynx had a preference for zone 3 of the enclosure. Pre-release behavior monitoring is critical I n Iberian lynx soft-release reintroductions in order to ensure their acclimatization to the new site, identify their survival skills and allow their establishment in the reintroduction areas.
KeywordsEndangered Iberian lynx Reintroduction Soft-release Stereotypes
This project has been carried out with LIFE + Iberlince funds. We are grateful to the technicians from DGMA Junta de Extremadura, MAPAMA, CBD-Habitat and Agentes del Medio Natural, for all the help provided in the field. We also thank the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Fund and Sequoia Park Zoo Conservation Committee for additional support to the reintroduction program. Thanks are due for financial support to CESAM (UID/AMB/50017-POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007638), to FCT/MCTES through national funds (PIDDAC), and co-funding by the FEDER, within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020. R.T. Torres was supported by a post-doctoral grant from FCT (SFRH/BPD/112482/2015).
Compliance with ethical standards
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
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