In close partnership with Liga para a Protecção da Natureza, FFI seeks to secure and manage land across southern Portugal to provide habitat and prey for the endangered Iberian lynx – the world’s most threatened cat species with approximately 483 remaining in the wild. Threats to the lynx include habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, and a lack of prey (rabbits).
This project seeks to address these threats through land management agreements with landowners to secure habitat. As the project has developed, the Portuguese government has started to reintroduce captive-bred lynx in Portugal; meanwhile, lynx are migrating naturally from the growing populations in Spain. Twenty thousand hectares of habitat have been secured under agreement and subject to conservation interventions in three target areas – Moura and Barrancos, Guadiana Valley and the Caldeirão mountains. These areas include some of the best remaining habitat for the Iberian lynx in Portugal with good connectivity to Spain. The project is now looking to secure further habitat and to establish a mobile response unit to support lynx migration and establishment of territories.
In 2010, the project was expanded to include activities to conserve the black vulture, an important species that shares habitat with the lynx. Activities include establishing artificial nests and feeding stations. As a result of this work the black vulture has become re-established and is breeding in southern Portugal.