Is there soon to be no missing lynx?

LAST UPDATED: 1 Apr, 2009 @ 13:45
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Is there soon to be no missing lynx?

Something in the air as two of the world’s most endangered feline give birth while third is expecting

IT was an Easter of joy as perhaps the world’s rarest mother and daughter gave birth within days of each other.

Saliega and Brisa, two captive Iberian lynx females, have done their utmost to ensure the survival of this most endangered of felines.

Proud Saliega, who was taken from the wild to begin the Ex Situ lynx conservation programme in 2004, produced three cubs on Easter Saturday – her fourth litter in as many years.

She rejected one, which later died, but her two surviving sons are said to be doing well at the centre in Huelva, Andalucía.

Eldest daughter Brisa, the first lynx ever born in captivity, made Saliega a first-time grandmother when she produced two cubs in the early hours of Maundy Thursday.

Sadly, one was still born while the second was rejected by his mother. As the photograph above shows, the un-named male cub – who quite literally sprang into the world – is being cared for by staff at the centre.

“Before she gave birth, Brisa was very nervous. She produced the first cub, which was born dead. We unsuccessfully tried to revive it, but the mother ate it.

“The second birth was quite unusual. At the last contraction, Brisa must have pushed so hard that the cub flew one metre from his mother,” programme co-ordinator Antonio Rivas told the Olive Press.

Meanwhile, officials from the botanical zoo in Jerez de la Frontera have confirmed that the centre’s two lynx will become proud parents in mid-April.

The female, Azahar, is part-way through her two-month gestation period. If the birth is a success, the cub – or cubs, as Iberian lynx can produce litters of up to three – will be the first to be born at the zoo.

Expectant father Fran is said to be acting like the cat that got the cream.

There are only 150 remaining Iberian lynx in the wild. Living in only a few colonies in Spain, Europe’s last surviving big cat is extinct from Portugal.

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