A 4-year-old rare Iberian lynx that was released into the wild of Portugal two years ago is spotted in Catalonia.
The Iberian lynx is no longer critically endangered but it remains to be on the list of endangered species.
Litio In Catalonia
For the last two years, the whereabouts of the young male Iberian lynx named Litio has remained unknown after the GPS tracker on his collar malfunctioned just two days after his release in southern Portugal. His last known location was at the Guadiana Valley in Algarve in 2016.
Amazingly, Litio is finally spotted in Catalonia, over a hundred years after the rare species was last seen in the region. The adventurous lynx traveled 1,100 kilometers or about 680 miles from where he was last seen.
What's even more impressive about the feat is that Litio was released into the wild before the 2016 release. However, he had to be recaptured as he struggled to adapt to the environment.
The authorities spotted Litio in a wooded area in Barcelona after several sighting reports, but they declined to state where he was exactly seen to avoid people from crowding around him. That said, conservation groups are planning to recapture Litio as his current location is too close to roads and urban areas.
Litio is the fifth Iberian lynx to have traveled from Portugal to Spain since 2010, but he is the first to be seen in Catalonia. Fortunately, now that is finally found, data from his collar could provide additional information on the route he has taken for the last two years.
“The Iberian Lynx is a superpredator and an umbrella species for Mediterranean ecosystems. The experience of its reintroduction provides more knowledge about wild species dynamics and is a case study that can be helpful for other species at risk of extinction,” authorities said in a statement.
Iberian Lynx On The Endangered Species List
Lito, born at a captive breeding center in Andalusia, was released into the wild as a part of an ambitious project to save the species from extinction. The Iberian lynx is actually the world’s most endangered feline species.
In 1965, the Iberian lynxes were already considered as rare species that are decreasing in numbers. By 1985, they have been declared an endangered species. However, in 2002, there were less than 100 individual Iberian lynxes, placing the species on the critically endangered species list.
After six decades of conservation efforts, the Iberian Lynxes are slowly recovering as their population continues to grow. Just last year, the number of Iberian lynxes grew to 589, and the species has been moved from the critically endangered to the endangered species list.
Some of the major threats to the species include habitat loss, illegal hunting, car hits, and decreasing food sources.