• Spain's news in English

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's Podemos sees golden opportunity in Socialist woes
Pablo Iglesias is ready to step up in opposition. Photo: AFP

As Spain's conservatives prepare to re-take power after 10 months of political limbo, anti-austerity party Podemos has set its sights on replacing the divided Socialists as the main opposition force.

Wildlife ranger accused over decapitated bison in Valencia
The headless corpse of Sauro was found last month. Photo: Carlos Alamo / Reserva de Valdeserrillas

The case of the beheaded bison at a wildlife reserve in Valencia just got a whole lot weirder.

Spain jobless drops below 20% for first time in six years
The unemployed queuing up outside a Madrid job centre. Photo: AFP

Spain's unemployment fell below 20 percent for the first time in six years, official figures showed on Thursday.

'Saints not ghouls' insists Spanish church for Halloween
Suggested outfits from the Bishopric of Cadiz and Ceuta. Photo: Shower of Roses

Spanish bishops are urging good Christian children to forgo zombie, ghost and devil outfits and instead dress up as "saints, virgins and apostles".

Tough road ahead, Spain PM warns before return to power
Rajoy will try and form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned on Wednesday of a tough road ahead as he prepares to take power again at the head of a minority government with little support.

Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available