On June 21, 2013, two Iberian lynx cubs born at the Silves reproduction centre in southern Portugal were released in the Guarrizas valley (Spain) after being taught to hunt and survive in the wilderness. To date, 19 cubs (11 from Silves) have been reintroduced to their natural habitat.
The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), also called the Pardel lynx and Spanish lynx, is a small wild cat, and listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN, several years ago there were less than 150 adult Iberian lynx in existence, spread between two breeding populations in southwestern Spain. Today, there is currently a population of approximately 300 Iberian lynx living in the wild. There are also reports of a small population of cats in Portugal.
Factors contributing to the Iberian lynx decline include the loss of prey (rabbits) due to disease and over-hunting, habitat destruction, poaching, poisoning, feral dogs and getting hit by vehicles.
A national action plan for the conservation of the Iberian lynx was created in 2007 with several goals, including preserving habitat for both the lynx and its prey, reducing non-natural reasons for mortality, creating a captive breeding center and raising awareness about the cat’s conservation status. Various organizations are now working to prevent the cat’s extinction.
Like other species of lynx, the Iberian lynx has a short tail, fur under the chin and strands of hair on the ears. It is smaller than its lynx relatives, and has a more noticeable, darker looking coat with spots. At one point in time, the Iberian lynx roamed throughout the entire Iberian Peninsula, an area of land that currently includes parts of France, Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar. Although rabbits are the cats main prey, the Iberian lynx will has also been known to hunt ducks, deer, rodents, reptiles and amphibians.
You can read the entire article about the cubs here.