Already six lynx cubs born this season in Doñana National Park

by Lorraine Williamson
lynx cubs

Good news for the endangered species, the lynx. In Doñana National Park, in the El Acebuche breeding centre, six young lynx have already been added this year. A total of eight cubs have been born so far. However, two did not survive birth. More cubs will be born in the near future.

Narsil is the third female lynx to give birth this season at the El Acebuche breeding centre in Doñana National Park (Almonte, Huelva). On Tuesday, March 12, she gave birth to three cubs. Two cubs have already given birth at the end of February, and more births are expected soon.

According to the Autonomous Body of National Parks (OAPN), the female Parra will give birth this Saturday. Meanwhile Macadamia is expected to give birth on March 19 and Oleander on March 20.

Sardina – born three years ago at this same breeding centre and the first to copulate this season – gave birth to three cubs. However, only one survived the birth. In addition, the female Kolia – who is eleven years old and already has 14 offspring – also gave birth to two more cubs. With Narsil’s three cubs, six lynx have now been born – and alive – this season. This number will increase in the coming days with the planned births.


In addition, with these cubs, there are now 225 Iberian lynx cubs born at the El Acebuche breeding centre since the first litter of the captive breeding program was born here in 2005.

The new 2024 breeding season of the Iberian lynx began at the captive breeding centre of El Acebuche with the mating of seven pairs. Its main objective is to adequately manage the genetic diversity of this endangered species. Six of the seven pairs formed between February 28 and January 21 went into heat and mated.

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Seven pairs

Thus, of the seven pairs established based on genetic priorities, there are two females that have not bred litters before. These are Sardina and Oleander, and four experienced females: Narsil, Kolia, Parra and Juromenha, and one female, Macadamia, which successfully reproduced for the first time in the 2023 breeding season after several years of reproductive failure.

Lynx only has one oestrus per year

The organisation explained that the Iberian lynx is a “very seasonal” species and “shows only one rut per year,” which generally occurs in the first weeks of winter. From that moment on, and with a gestation period of 63-66 days, the various litters are expected. These continue to contribute to the recovery of this species.

El Acebuche Breeding Centre

The El Acebuche breeding centre is managed by the Autonomous Body for National Parks of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge. It also manages the Zarza de Granadilla breeding centre in Cáceres, which is also home to seven breeding pairs.

In 2023, a total of 13 of the 17 lynx cubs were born at the El Acebuche breeding centre. That’s six more than in 2022, when seven were born. This is the highest figure since 2008 and 2011. In those years, 13 cubs were born, according to data published by the Autonomous Body of National Parks (OAPN).

Also read: Unique device should help to stop lynx from being run over in Andalucia

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