High tech help to save lynx

December 31, 2015 3:49 pm

Conservationists in Spain will use drones to help save the endangered
Iberian lynx after a technology consortium came to an agreement with
regional officials.
The beautiful animals, whose numbers have
recovered to 327 in the wild from the critical level of 94 at the start
of the century, have benefited from a captive breeding scheme.
However,
they often travel large distances after being released, exposing them
to greater risks, particularly from traffic. Last year 21 were killed on
Spanish roads.

There are 327 Iberian lynxes in the wild, up from 94 at the start of the century. Photo / Getty Images.
Jose Fiscal, Andalucia’s environment chief, said
that using the best technology available had already helped the animal’s
recovery, but more had to be done.
The current system involves a radio operator tuning in to the collars worn by released lynxes.
Now,
a deal has been signed between a technology consortium and the
Andalucian regional government to design an aerial tracking system.

The €20,000 ($31,880) agreement with tech companies Enel
Green Power and Microsensory will see the development of a prototype
specifically designed to follow lynxes fitted with radio markers.
“These
collars have provided valuable information on the territory and routes
used by individual felines, but the tracking was dependent on the
terrain and required daily monitoring by an operator,” Fiscal said.
Lynxes
have been released in five different places deemed sufficiently remote
and where rabbit breeding programmes have been set up in Spain and
neighbouring Portugal this year.

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