The future of the Iberian lynx discussed in seminal workshop

Fauna & Flora International’s (FFI) partner, the League for the Protection of Nature (Liga Para a Protecção Da Natureza – LPN), recently held Portugal’s first seminar on the Iberian lynx, the world’s most endangered cat. LPN is one of Portugal’s leading conservation organisations and works with FFI on our joint Iberian lynx programme.

Around 200 Portuguese and Spain researchers, land managers and owners and students, as well as individuals from non-governmental organisations and the general public, debated the current state of Iberian lynx’s conservation in Portugal. The attendees discussed the management of habitat and prey (wild rabbit), a captive breeding programme and social perceptions of lynx conservation.

The seminar was vital for gathering Iberian specialists and stakeholders with influence in lynx conservation. It also gave civil society an opportunity to participate in the discussion of Iberian lynx conservation and the public’s role in the species’ survival.

FFI and LPN’s Iberian lynx programme is a lifeline for the species in Portugal. We are working to engage state and private landowners to ensure the creation of a habitat corridor to link fragmented lynx populations across the Iberian Peninsula.

The Iberian lynx is an important flagship species for stewardship of biodiversity in the Iberian Peninsula. There are around 150 left in the wild. Together FFI and LPN have secured over 10,000 hectares of prime lynx habitat.

The species is a conservation priority both in the Iberian Peninsula and globally. The workshop was particularly timely given 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity.

The seminar was held in the University of Algarve (Faro), with financial support of Banco Espírito Santo. It was organised in partnership with Fauna & Flora International, Institute for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity, National Forestry Authority, Center of Environmental Biology, Portuguese Society of Ecology and the Center for Functional Ecology.