Iberian lynx: their reintroductions restored the functionality of the ecosystems

Iberian lynx: capture the rabbits that damage crops to release them in the monteMiguel Angel Simón: "we Hope to post 540 lynxes in the Peninsula by 2018,"the

Iberian lynx: their reintroductions restored the functionality of the ecosystems
Iberian lynx: capture the rabbits that damage crops to release them in the monteMiguel Angel Simón: "we Hope to post 540 lynxes in the Peninsula by 2018,"the First release of iberian lynx in the National Park of Cabañeros

A team led by scientists at the Institute of Research in Hunting Resources (a joint centre of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the University of Castilla-La Mancha and the Junta de comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha) he has studied the impact of the lynx on predators such as the fox and the ichneumon . The findings, which are published in the journal Biological Conservation, show that the abundance of these mesopredadores was reduced following the restoration of lynx.

Superdepredadores as the lynx play a key role in the operation and structuring ecosystems , which control the dams and maintain the biodiversity. "However, the consideration of their impact may be positive, particularly in landscapes humanized , is controversial. The absence of experimental approaches is behind this controversy, and focuses on the social acceptance of the recovery of these species," explains José Jiménez, Institute of Research in Hunting Resources.

The team of scientists, in a study over three years funded by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, has shown how the abundances of mesopredadores were reduced after the restoration of a superdepredador, with evidence of positive effects in cascade in the trophic levels below, that is to say, in the abundance of prey species like the rabbit and the partridge .

After the reintroduction of the iberian lynx in the Valle de Matachel (Badajoz) there was a reduction in the abundance of foxes and meloncillos of approximately 80%. In the study area, the establishment of a male and a female territorial and their offspring, due to the disappearance of 19 foxes, 11 meloncillos, 3 garduñas and 1 cat asilvestrado the second year after reintroduction. "This change in the community of carnivore s he was linked to the recovery of the rabbit and red-legged partridge in the areas occupied by the lynx. The reduction of the consumption of rabbit by the entire community of carnivores was estimated to be 55.6%," notes the study.

"These researches show a positive impact of reintroductions, not only in the conservation status of the lynx, but also the restoration of its functionality organic," adds Jimenez. The expert highlights, in addition, how "supports the social acceptance of re-introductions of the iberian lynx, which is critical to their future."

The study has counted with the collaboration of TRAGSATEC, the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, the regional government of Extremadura, the CBD-Habitat, the Biological Station of Doñana CSIC and University of Oviedo.

Updated Date: 27 September 2019, 15:02

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