Wednesday, September 27

Four new offspring of Lucero, the three-legged lynx that drowned in a raft, will continue to ‘colonize’ Albacete

The province of Albacete has four new and small ‘neighbors’. These are specimens of the Iberian lynx and they are the children of Quastellana and Lucero, the sadly missing three-legged male who perished after falling on an agricultural raft.

‘Quastellana’, the first female lynx to be established in the province of Albacete

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They were born around March 15. Miguel Fajardo, provincial coordinator of the body of environmental agents in the province, explains to that “we had very good palpitations and it was a pleasant surprise because the Lucero issue left us touched. We had a very bad time. This is a vocational job. One of the companions who was very close to them is still very affected.

The team has closely followed the female in recent months since they discovered that she had a “tummy”. She disappeared for three days and that was the clue. “They prepare for the birth and hide until the cubs are about 40 or 45 days old. Then they begin to go out under the tutelage of the mother”. The first images of the pups were captured on May 6.

Quastellana was the first female lynx to settle in the province of Albacete. She “she arrived by chance, she liked the area and she stayed”. Today she occupies a large territory in the southeast of the province, near the border with Alicante and Murcia. And it is very far from the area where other specimens were sighted in the 1980s. “The usual thing was to see them in the Sierra de Alcaraz. Fences, majaneras… had been installed so that they could establish themselves or facilitate their transit. However, Quastellana appeared at the other end of the province”.

It was then that they found him a partner. Lucero was born in the La Olivilla center in Jaén. Since his reintroduction in 2015 in the Montes de Toledo he had left “a wide genetic representation”: 21 puppies, in eight litters. An accident in 2019 forced him to be transferred to the ‘El Chaparrillo’ Wildlife Recovery Center, in Ciudad Real, where after two years he managed to rehabilitate himself thanks to the funds of the Junta de Castilla-La Mancha, through of the Ministry of Sustainable Development.

The collision had caused a neurological injury and affected his left front leg: the animal had radial nerve paralysis. He had to amputate and despite the poor prognosis he recovered to ‘travel’ to Albacete.

“He was given a second chance and when he was released in November 2021 in Albacete he looked happy on the pitch, despite his problem. He was very integrated and had everything easy: a lot of rabbit and a lot of protection. For sure he was enjoying a second youth”.

Lucero fell into an irrigation pond and drowned in February of this year. “It was an unfortunate accident” that now, in some way, is compensated with his offspring.

Environmental agents monitor the feline family daily. “They are very well,” says Miguel Fajardo, but he warns that for the mother “it is a delicate moment in which she needs a lot of peace of mind to carry out this large litter that must be cared for and fed.”

The pups will end up colonizing new territories. “With the large presence of rabbits, it will be easy for them to continue reproducing. We know that they are also working in many provinces, throughout the Mediterranean area, for their recovery”. Spring has arrived in Albacete with good news. “Imperial eagle nests are also proliferating.”

Now, says Fajardo, “we must influence the informative work with hunters, ranchers, farmers and citizens in general. There are many dangers. We all have to take care of them.”

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