The female Iberian lynx Opala, who had been released 10 months ago, was found dead on the 9th of this month in the Natural Park of the Guadiana Valley (PNVG), in the Alentejo municipality of Mértola.
In a statement sent to the Lusa agency, the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF) explains that its monitoring team “detected the dead animal in an advanced state of decomposition through the VHF radio signal of the broadcast collar.”
The causes of the death of Opal “are still unknown”, but are being investigated by the GNR, which did a case study and the collection of samples, according to the ICNF.
The young female Opal was born in 2017 at the La Olivilla Reproduction Center in the region of Andalusia in Spain and was released on March 15, 2018 in the area of Corte Gafo in the municipality of Mértola in the Beja district, in the population nucleus of lynx-Iberian in the PNVG.
According to the ICNF, Opala had been last detected in September 2018, appearing to have established a territory in the area where it was found dead.
Opal is the second Iberian lynx released in the PNVG and found dead this year in the municipality of Mértola, after the male Mistral was found dead on the 2nd of this month on National Road 122, with signs of being hit.
With the death of Opala, the survival rate of Iberian lynx specimens reintroduced in Portugal “stands at 72%”, says the ICNF.
Currently, according to the institute, the PNVG has 11 breeding territorial females and 45 Iberian lynx pups already born in the wild.
The population nucleus of Iberian lynx of the PNVG is monitored by tracking by telemetry and also by photo-trapping, which allows the individual identification of all the specimens.
The reintroduction of the Iberian lynx into Portugal began in 2015 under the LIFE Iberlince project, whose goal is to recover the historical distribution of the species.
“It is hoped to achieve a harmonious coexistence between sustainable human activities and the viability of this wild feline, in the long run, one of the most threatened in the world,” says the ICNF.