• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Drones to keep watchful eye in the sky over endangered Iberian lynx
Photo: Cristina Quicler / AFP

Drones to keep watchful eye in the sky over endangered Iberian lynx

Fiona Govan · 29 Dec 2015, 11:15

Published: 29 Dec 2015 11:15 GMT+01:00

The regional government in Andalusia has signed a deal with a drone company to develop a prototype designed to boost protection of the endangered cat in the fight to reestablish the species in the wild.

It is hoped that the drone scheme will eventually replace the need for the lynx to wear radio devices on collars. 

José Fiscal, Andalusia's regional minister for the environment, signed an agreement on Monday with companies Enel Green Power España and Microsensory.

The agreement, which will initially last a year, is designed to "advance the monitoring of lynx that have been introduced into the wild". 

Until now, lynx introduced into the wild under a breeding programme have been monitored using a VHF device attached to a collar.

"These collars have hitherto provided valuable information on the territory and pathways used by individual felines, but the tracking was dependent on the terrain and required daily monitoring by an operator," said Fiscal.

Enel Green Power will provide a budget of €20,000 so that Microsensory can develop a specially adapted drone to track and protect a species whose population is growing in the wild thanks to a huge effort by conservationists.

Last month the return of the Iberian lynx (Lynx Pardinus) to the wooded hills of the Guadarrama valley outside Madrid was confirmed by a team from Madrid’s Complutense University (UCM) thanks to DNA analysis of scat samples.

Spain has made enormous efforts to boost the wild population of the Iberian lynx, the smaller cousin of the Eurasian lynx, after it was almost wiped out by the end of last century.

Threats including illegal hunting, a loss of habitat and a disease that wiped out their natural prey of rabbits saw the population plummet to just 94 animals in just two small territorial pockets in Andalusia.

Story continues below…

But progressive captive breeding programmes that saw creatures released into the wild and a concerted effort by authorities to protect their natural habitat has seen the numbers grow to 327 in the wild by the end of 2014.

In recognition of the huge efforts made, the Iberian lynx was downgraded from a 'critically endangered' species to 'endangered' on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List when it was updated in July.

But one of the biggest threats to the lynx remains highways with 22 animals killed on the roads last year alone.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Fiona Govan (fiona.govan@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Human bones from 'voodoo ritual' found in the Med
The discoveries have been made off Calpe. Photo: Víctor Gutiérrez Navarro / Flickr

Police are investigating a series of bizarre discoveries by divers off Calpe that include human bones and items used in voodoo-type rituals.

Hapless thief caught after FOUR hours trapped in hot car
Photo: Joan Carles Valero / ABC

Police rescued a thief after a robbery went wrong and he spent four hours trapped inside a car parked in the heat of the day in Barcelona

Christmas Day elections loom as opposition blocks govt deal
Rajoy has not got the support he needs to form a government. Photo: AFP

Spain could be heading for the polls on Christmas Day if Mariano Rajoy fails to win a confidence vote in Parliament today.

The ten commandments for expats living in Spain
Sometimes you just need to throw yourself into the local culture. Photo: AFP

Irish expat Carol Byrne outlines the ten golden rules you will need to follow to be a happy expat in Spain.

Madrid LGBT group takes action over ‘gay cure therapy’
Madrid introduced anti-homophobic laws earlier this month. Photo: AFP

A Spanish pressure group that fights against homophobia has filed a complaint against a therapist who offers “to cure homosexuality”.

Expat Spain: Warm, friendly and brilliant for family life
Spain is one of the best nations for expats. Photo: theinterngroup.com/ Flickr

A great climate and friendly locals make up for the lack of career opportunities in Spain, according to a survey ranking the quality of life for expats around the world.

La Tomatina: Everything you need to know about epic fiesta

Every year on the last Wednesday in August the town of Buñol prepares to get seriously messy when it stages what has become the world's biggest food fight.

Costa del Sol beach closed over shark fears
The Civil Guard patrolled the beach looking for the shark. Photo: Pedrator_desert/ Twitter

Thought jellyfish were a nuisance? Fuengirola just got a lot scarier.

The Local List
15 amazing Unesco World Heritage sites to visit in Spain
The town of Ávila. Photo: Chroniron/Wikimedia Commons.

Spain has an impressive 45 locations listed as Unesco World Heritage sites for their cultural significance or natural beauty, including some that are entire towns. Here's a look at some of the most stunning.

Rajoy says forming new government ‘a wish’
Spain has been subject to a political deadlock for the past eight months. Pierre-Philippe Marcou / AFP file picture

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned Saturday ahead of parliament's confidence vote for a second term in office that the formation of a new government remained "more of a wish".

Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
La Tomatina: Everything you need to know about epic fiesta
National
Shocking video shows torture of young calf during fiesta
Police launch appeal for Costa Blanca hit and run driver
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Politics
What political deadlock? Spain economy forges ahead
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Features
Eight reasons to spend your gap year exploring Spain
International
'We won't ban burqinis on our beaches' insists Barcelona
National
British dad drowns saving daughter on red flagged beach
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
11 Spanish words that English must adopt right now
Lifestyle
Justin Bieber just bought an amazing new pad in Lanzarote
Lifestyle
Recipe: How to make Andalusian Ajo Blanco soup
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Travel
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel
Ten touristy types you'll meet in Spain: Which one are you?
Lifestyle
Ten top tips to avoid looking like a guiri when in Spain
International
Don't miss this spectacular meteor shower over Spain
Travel
Desperate Ryanair passenger chases after missed flight
Travel
What's on in Spain: August 2016
National
Get your kit off! Spain's ten best nudist beaches
National
German firestarter blames blaze on 'toilet paper mishap'
National
Flashmob prank sparks 'terror attack' panic in Spanish resort
Culture
Croquemon Go: Spain invents twist on game to 'eat 'em all'
Technology
Six free apps to simplify your summer in Spain
National
Spanish parents fight for right to name their son 'Wolf'
National
Beach closed after shark attack in southern Spain
3,239
jobs available