Iberian Lynx

“The Iberian Lynx is ready to reclaim its territories.”

The Iberian Lynx is the most endangered feline on this planet. Its most distinctive features are the tufts on the tips of its ears, beard, and short tail with a black apical spot. Its small size and spotted coat allow it to camouflage itself in its habitat (Mediterranean forest) while searching for its main prey, the European rabbit. The lynx’s territorial area can vary between 300 and 2000 hectares, depending on the rabbit population density. One rabbit per day is enough to sustain the lynx, but wildcats, foxes, or genets will compete with the lynx for prey and territory.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Iberian Lynx occupied territories throughout the Iberian Peninsula. However, by the end of the 20th century, the inhabited area was drastically reduced to two zones in Andalusia: Doñana and Sierra Morena. Its survival is highly threatened, and it is considered to be “critically endangered.” The main causes are habitat alteration and fragmentation (abandonment of traditional farming and livestock practices, intensive agriculture, monoculture reforestation, excessive livestock grazing, and construction of infrastructure such as highways), a decrease in the rabbit population (due to diseases like myxomatosis and hemorrhagic fever), non-natural causes of death (roadkill, poaching), and genetic weakness (isolation between populations leading to genetic impoverishment and vulnerability to diseases).

The LIFE IBERLINCE project aims to initiate the recovery of the historical distribution of the Iberian Lynx in Spain and Portugal, establishing stable and self-sustaining populations to ensure the species’ future. The project’s actions include identifying reintroduction areas in Portugal and Spain, consolidating current populations, creating ecological corridors for lynx movement and foraging, reducing the impact of roadkill and poaching mortality, involving the private sector and hunting associations, and achieving maximum social support and participation from residents in the reintroduction areas. The support of local communities is crucial for the project’s success!

Protecting the lynx is not just about saving a species from extinction for future generations, but also about conserving an ecosystem—the “montado”—and generating positive economic impacts for local businesses, such as creating new jobs and increasing territorial surveillance and tourism. The international recognition of the tourism potential in areas with lynx will allow visitors to experience well-preserved natural systems that capitalize on the landscape, natural, and cultural values of the territory, as is the case with the Noudar Nature Park.

In 2013, there were 300 lynxes, and in 2014, a pair of lynxes were released in Mértola. By achieving these goals, the aim is to reach a population of 450 lynxes in at least six population nuclei on the Iberian Peninsula by 2016. This new situation will change their threat category from “Critically Endangered” to “Endangered.”

Pro-iberlinx seminar

Project Linx2020

Code: POSEUR-15-2016-56

Designation: Development of Species Action Plans and Implementation of Respective Actions (2nd Call)

Operational Program: Operational Program for Sustainability and Resource Efficiency

Priority Axis: Protecting the environment and promoting resource efficiency

Thematic Objective: Preserving and protecting the environment and promoting energy efficiency

Investment Priority: Protecting and rehabilitating biodiversity and soils and promoting ecological service systems, including the Natura 2000 network and green infrastructures

Operation Name: LINX2020 – Preparation of Pre-Reintroduction Actions for the Iberian Lynx in the Special Conservation Areas (SIC) Malcata, S. Mamede, and Moura-Barrancos

Operation Description:

The operation aims to implement a conservation system for the habitats of the Iberian Lynx and the recovery of European rabbit populations in the areas of the SICs S. Mamede, Malcata, and Moura-Barrancos, cooperatively managed by partnership members, whose functioning supports the long-term recovery of European rabbit populations. The system consists of the following components:

a) A network of European rabbit breeding parks with a total capacity to provide 4,000 – 5,000 rabbits/year for repopulation.

b) A set of participating agricultural and hunting farms where habitat improvement actions and European rabbit population recovery take place within the defined project intervention areas.

c) Implementation of habitat improvement actions as part of the project.

d) Rabbit repopulation carried out by the project.

e) Prior characterization study of habitats and European rabbit populations, including habitat fragmentation study.

f) Technical support for operations. Habitat analysis will be conducted to define the intervention areas following the “Protocol for Selecting Areas for the Reintroduction of the Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus) within the LIFE+ Iberlince Project.”

For the Moura-Barrancos and Malcata areas, the analyses conducted during the LIFE+ Iberlince project from 2013 to 2016 will be used.


  • Municipality of Penamacor
  • Municipality of Sabugal
  • Municipality of Castelo de Vide
  • EDIA, SA

Within the Linx2020 project, the following work has been developed at the Noudar Nature Park:

Technical assistance in the field of research

This work aims to monitor, on a bimonthly basis, the demographic parameters of the European rabbit in breeding enclosures installed at Herdade da Coitadinha/Noudar Nature Park, as well as the epidemiological parameters of various infectious and parasitic agents (prevalence, incidence, intensity, lethality rate). It also aims to support the management of the European rabbit at Herdade da Coitadinha by optimizing the management of existing enclosures, suggesting the construction of new enclosures, and providing scientific and technical support for the implementation of measures to recover the European rabbit population in Noudar Nature Park and other areas of the Moura-Barrancos Special Conservation Area (SIC).

  • Rabbit capture Rabbits captured using traps are marked with a subcutaneous microchip. Various data (sex, age, reproductive status, biometrics, and number of ectoparasites) and biological samples are collected for screening macro and microparasites and physiological parameters. The animals are then released at the capture site.

– Wild rabbit transport boxes
These boxes serve to transport the rabbits (10/box) captured in the traps (e), from one pen to another.

Rabbit enclosure at Charco dos Moços

Construction of a new park in order to increase the wild rabbit protection and reproduction areas.

Repair and reinforcement of wild rabbit pens


Construction and sealing of 3 marouços

The 3 mats were built, in earth, wooden pallets and tree branches, to serve as a shelter and nest for the rabbits.
Afterwards, each one of them was protected with a mesh fence resistant to the entry of predators.

Cultures for fauna (operation)

The electrifier (1) that receives solar energy and supplies electrical current to the conductive wires (2 and 5) allowing the culture for wild fauna (3) to grow without being eaten by the large herbivores (domestic and wild).

The battery (4) accumulates solar energy for later reuse during the night.

Holm oak protection structures

These structures were built, in mesh, to protect the grazing area near the feet of the holm oaks. Rabbits, and other small wild animals, manage to access the grass and acorns in season.