Breaking barriers: Iberian Lynx Lynx pardinus Temminck, 1827 (Mammalia: Carnivora: Felidae) colonizing Olive groves

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Germán Garrote
José Francisco Bueno
Manuel Ruiz
Santiago de Lillo
José Manuel Martin
Manuel Moral
Miguel Angel Simón


In recent years, the Andújar-Cardeña Iberian Lynx Lynx pardinus population has grown both in number and in occupied surface area.  This feline has spread into areas surrounding existing population nuclei and occupied new habitats including human-dominated areas and tree crops.  Here we describe this colonization process and the evolution of the Iberian Lynx populations in the Olive Olea europaea groves that surround typical Lynx scrub habitats in Andújar-Cardeña.  Our findings were obtained through radio-tracking, camera trapping and European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus monitoring.  Two colonized areas—Zocueca and Marmolejo-Montoro—were identified in which Olive cultivation is predominant.  Since 2011, a total of 45 and 50 different individuals have been detected in Zocueca and Marmolejo-Montoro, respectively.  At present, 19 individuals are known to live in Zocueca and 29 in Marmolejo-Montoro.  The main cause of mortality is road-kills.  Our results suggest that the Iberian Lynx is capable of colonizing human-modified areas such as agricultural land provided that they can support high-density Rabbit populations and the causes of non-natural mortality are minimized.

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