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Keywords:

  • adaptive management;
  • applied research;
  • conservation breeding;
  • ex situ;
  • genetics;
  • husbandry;
  • Iberian lynx;
  • outreach;
  • re-introduction;
  • reproductive physiology;
  • veterinary science

The Iberian Lynx Conservation Breeding Program follows a multidisciplinary approach, integrated within the National Strategy for the Conservation of the Iberian lynx, which is carried out in cooperation with national, regional and international institutions. The main goals of the ex situ conservation programme are to: (1) maintain a genetically and demographically managed captive population; (2) create new Iberian lynx Lynx pardinus free-ranging populations through re-introduction. To achieve the first goal, the Conservation Breeding Program aims to maintain 85% of the genetic diversity presently found in the wild for the next 30 years. This requires developing and maintaining 60–70 Iberian lynx as breeding stock. Growth projections indicate that the ex situ programme should achieve such a population target by the year 2010. Once this goal is reached, re-introduction efforts could begin. Thus, current ex situ efforts focus on producing psychologically and physically sound captive-born individuals. To achieve this goal, we use management and research techniques that rely on multidisciplinary input and knowledge generated on species' life history, behaviour, nutrition, veterinary and health aspects, genetics, reproductive physiology, endocrinology and ecology. Particularly important is adapting our husbandry schemes based on research data to promote natural behaviours in captivity (hunting, territoriality, social interactions) and a stress-free environment that is conducive to natural reproduction.