Spain: Rare Iberian lynx tracked in Madrid region

An Iberian lynx Image copyright
Image caption Conservation efforts have successfully raised the Iberian lynx population to more than 300, but many have been killed on Spanish roads

The critically endangered Iberian lynx has returned to the Madrid region of Spain for the first time in decades, it's reported.

It's more than 40 years since the species has set foot in the region, but now one has been tracked near a town just 50km (31 miles) south of the Spanish capital, El Pais reports. The male lynx, called Kentaro, was born in captivity and released along with seven others in Toledo in late 2014. Since then he's been quite the adventurer, travelling about 100km and crossing several motorways, according to conservationists. "Not all lynxes are this adventurous. They tend to stay close to where they were born," says Ramon Perez de Ayala from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). But Kentaro has "packed his bags and set off on his travels," he says. "We've been lucky because the roads he has crossed are well fenced and he hasn't been run over. He will have followed the fences until he found a bridge, and then crossed over there." Kentaro wears a GPS collar which allows conservationists to track his whereabouts.

The Iberian Lynx is the world's most endangered feline, and the only breeding populations are both in southern Spain. Traffic is one of the the biggest dangers for the species - according to El Pais, at least 21 lynxes were hit and killed on Spanish roads in 2014, and 14 died the year before. The WWF wants Spain's regional governments to put in place special measures which would help protect lynxes, including fencing off roads and motorways.

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