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The lynx cubs found in the hay. Guardia Civil
Three Iberian lynx cubs found in a hayloft in Toledo
Wildlife

Three Iberian lynx cubs found in a hayloft in Toledo

Cameras have been installed in the shed where the farmer made the discovery to track progress of the endangered animals

J.M.L.

Toledo

Thursday, 28 March 2024, 09:46

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A farmer in Menasalbas in the central Spanish municipality of Toledo was surprised to find three Iberian lynx cubs in his shed. But the cubs, hidden in straw, have not been abandoned by their mother. Agents from Guardia Civil's nature protection unit Seprona witnessed the mother regularly visiting the barn to check up on her cubs.

The farmer alerted the 112 emergency service when he found the cubs after going to feed his animals. The mother was not there at the time. "This is good news for a species in danger of extinction. It is the fruit of many years of work and a lot of effort to conserve this species and reintroduce them into the natural environment," deputy coordinator of the environment officers of Castilla-La Mancha, Alfonso Sánchez said.

At first, the farmer took the cubs to look after them, but then the authorities thought it better to leave them in the hayloft so the mother could continue caring for them. "In these cases we always ask the animals not be handled and that 112 be notified," Sánchez said. To better monitor the young lynxes, video cameras have been installed in the shed, which have confirmed regular visits by the mother.

Their future should also follow a natural course: whenever the mother decides her cubs are strong enough to leave for the wild.

Lynx population

The discovery of these three small lynxes coincided with the first release of an Iberian lynx in the Cabañeros National Park, located between the provinces of Toledo and Ciudad Real, to create a corridor towards Sierra Morena and the Montes de Toledo that will hopefully continue to recover the endangered species. The pioneering initiative is part of the European project, Life Lynx Connect, carried out in Castilla-La Mancha, Andalucía, Extremadura, Murcia and Portugal. The animal is called U2Nava and is a one-year-old male from the Iberian Lynx Breeding Centre of La Olivilla in Jaén.

At present, Castilla-La Mancha has established three lynx reintroduction areas: Montes de Toledo, Sierra Morena Oriental and Sierra Morena Occidental, with a fourth to be added: Campos de Hellín, in Albacete province. The total lynx population in Castilla-La Mancha, according to the latest updated census of 2023, is 700, of which 300 are cubs and 400 are adults.

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