Lynx Programme

The Lynx Programme
Liga para a Protecção da Natureza (LPN), a Non-Governmental Organization that has been working towards Nature Conservation over the last 65 years, in a partnership with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) launched in 2004 the Lynx Programme, aiming to ensure the long term conservation and management of areas of Mediterranean habitat suitable for the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) in Southeast Portugal, while also benefiting a wide set of other threatened species.

The Iberian lynx

With its distribution limited to the South of the Iberian Peninsula and with a total population of around 300 individuals, the Iberian lynx is the most endangered wild cat species in the world and is classified as critically endangered by the UICN. Currently this species has only two known breeding populations, both in Spain (in Sierra Morena Oriental at Parque Natural de la Sierra de Andújar and in south-western Andalusia at Parque Nacional Doñana) with the occurrence of odd individuals in Portugal.

Despite all the efforts carried out for the conservation of the Iberian lynx's habitat (well preserved Mediterranean forests and scrublands) and its natural prey (the wild rabbit), many threats still continue to act throughout its distribution range. Along with the rabbit decline (due to myxomatosis and viral hemorrhagic fever) to extremely low numbers and habitat loss, diseases, namely feline leukemia, and traffic collisions, remain the main threats responsible for the lynx’ mortality.

To fight this species’ decline, the Lynx Programme has been working towards the enhancement of wild rabbit's natural populations and habitat restoration, working in the ground together with local stakeholders. At the same time, a public participation programme is being carried out in rural areas, where people are likely to be influenced by major conservation plans targeting the species. Furthermore, the Lynx Programme is involved in the implementation of the species action plan and is also involved on a number of educational and environmental awareness activities, addressed mainly at local schools, populations and stakeholders, thus involving society in Nature and Biodiversity conservation.

Currently, the Lynx Programme ensures the conservation of almost 20,000 hectares of suitable Mediterranean habitat for the Iberian lynx in the Southeast of Portugal (focused mainly in Natura 2000 sites), thanks to the establishment of management agreements with local landowners and other stakeholders.
Hundreds of structures (e.g. food and water suppliers, artificial shelters) have been implemented in the field to enhance local populations of wild rabbits, the Iberian lynx main prey.
Thousands of children from the programme’s intervention area have heard of the Iberian lynx through us, along with hundreds of local and regional stakeholders and other locals. Local populations of the Southeast of Portugal are now more aware for the need of this species’ conservation and protection.

Artificial shelter for wild rabbits
Pastures, food and water suppliers for wild rabbits
Educational and environmental awareness activities

So far, under the scope of the Lynx Programme, LPN and FFI have been responsible for the implementation of several projects, mainly thanks to donations and different supports:

LIFE ‘Recovery of Iberian lynx habitat in Moura/Barrancos Site
Project co-funded in 75% by the European Commission LIFE Nature Programme
Acronym: LIFE Lince Moura/Barrancos (LIFE06 NAT/P/000191)
Duration: September 2006 – December 2009

LIFE+ ‘Enhancing Habitat for the Iberian Lynx and Black Vulture in the Southeast of Portugal
Project co-funded in 75% by the European Commission LIFE Nature Programme
Acronym: LIFE Habitat Lince Abutre (LIFE08 NAT/P/000227)
Duration: January 2010 – September 2014

Iberian Lynx Habitat Conservation
Project funded by Disney Friends for Change
Duration: January 2011 – January 2012

Saving the world’s rarest cat
Project funded by the Williamson Charitable Trust
Duration: March 2011 – March 2012

Saving the world’s rarest cat: the critically endangered Iberian lynx
Project co-funded by BBC Wildlife Fund
Duration: May 2011 – April 2013

The Mediterranean Landscape and its Biodiversity
Cork oak (Quercus suber) woodland, wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo)

Little owl (Athene noctua), Mediterranean landscape (mosaic of habitats), red deer (Cervus elaphus)

Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), holm oak (Quercus rotundifolia), butterfly (Euphydryas aurinia)

Mediterranean turtle (Mauremys leprosa), lizard (Psammodromus algirus), cork oak






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Programa Lince
Liga para a Protecção da Natureza
Estrada do Calhariz de Benfica, n.º 187
1500-124 Lisboa
Tel.: (+351) 217 780 097
Fax: (+351) 217 783 208
E-mail: programa.lince[at]

Lynx Programme Projects: