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Dead lynx was poisoned

lynx2Kayakweru was one of six Iberian lynx released into the wild from the Silves Lynx Centre since December 2014 despite concerns from animal welfare and nature organisations that there were not sufficient rabbits for the lynx to catch and eat.

The female survived for less than a month after her release on February 25th this year and was found dead in a forested area on March 12th near Mertola in the Alentejo.

The Institute for Nature Conservation and Forestry (ICNF), which was monitoring the animal, had the body examined by the National Institute for Agricultural and Veterinary Research to determine the cause of death, which has turned out to be poisoning.

Sofia Castelo Branco, a member of the governing board of ICNF said at the time that the death was “quite normal,” either from natural causes or by other causes, adding that "we will continue with the national breeding centre in Silves and we will continue to reintroduce animals into the wild and we must be prepared for these episodes to occur."

Kayakweru was released in a couple to increase the chances of survival and reproduction in the wild.

The Iberian lynx is the most endangered feline species in the world. Lack of wild rabbit is the main threat to their survival in nature.

Jorge Moreira da Silva, Minister of the Environment, reacted to the death of the Iberian lynx saying that the reintroduction of the species is not without risks and we must be prepared for fatalities.

The minister stated that the reintroduction of the Iberian lynx in Portugal was "well prepared, well-developed, and well-studied for 20 years and there was no part of the reintroduction phase that had not been subject to a risk assessment."

As for Kayakweru, it is possible that a mixture of inexperience and hunger may have led her to eat some poisoned meat and the public prosecutor’s office in Beja is looking into this possibility.

Eco-organisation Quercus has been saying for ages that there were not enough rabbits after the population had been devastated by disease and has been critical at the minister’s decision to rush ahead with the programme, claiming he wanted a successful lynx release to help his re-election campaign.

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-14 #1 dw 2015-04-20 17:33
Why is there poisoned meat lying around the countryside?

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