A. General aspects
The impact of diseases in the population dynamics is usually low, but there are factors that can make them first-regulatory elements in populations with low effectives. There are many examples of diseases that have dramatically altered the population dynamics of endangered species, compromising their survival or causing their extinction. The Iberian lynx has the major recognized sanitary risk factors ability to cause the extinction due to disease:
a) Small population size: The strength with which the species had in 2006 did not exceed 200 copies, distributed in only two cores. With such a low population size, the emergence of infectious diseases can cause the extinction of the population.
b) High density: Both in Sierra Morena (where almost one per km2) and in some areas of Doñana-Aljarafe, lynx density is very high. The high density is a health risk factor because it promotes the spread of infectious diseases in the population.
c) Low genetic diversity: The low genetic variability and inbreeding are factors that increase susceptibility to infectious diseases in mammals.
d) Living with pathogen reservoir species for the Iberian lynx: Carnivores living with lynx have been identified as potentially pathogenic reservoirs for this, as well as wild ungulates are abundant in the range of the lynx.
For all the foregoing, in the framework of the Life-Wildcat has included a monitoring and health management of wild populations of Iberian lynx, whose objectives are:
a) Assess the health risk faced by populations of Iberian lynx: As the pressure of pathogens in a population varies over time, permanent health assessment to understand the risk that potential pathogens to the species pose to the population at all times, thus enabling the implementation of appropriate preventive measures.
b) Epidemiological surveillance: In the LIFE-tracked lynx intensive agents have proved fatal in the Iberian lynx for early detection of any outbreak that might arise in the population.
c) Health impact assessment of the action: By the health management program assesses the health consequences of conservation actions implemented under the LIFE-Lince. It gives the improvement of all actions to increase efficiency and / or decreasing the health risks associated.
B. Sources of information
- Sanitary check-ups: all Iberian lynxes captured in the framework of the LIFE-Lynx (for radio-tagging, specific sanitary surveillance, inter-population movements or extractions for the breeding program) are subject to a comprehensive health assessment.
|Checkup of an Iberian lynx in Sierra Morena
||Checkup of an Iberian lynx in Doñana
In addition to routine checks, the copies that move between populations spend a period of quarantine according to the protocol developed by the GAAS, primarily to prevent transmission of pathogens to target populations and to assess the physiological state of the specimen (see protocol). Tests are performed most important infectious agents (by PCR and serology), ruling for inter-population movement of animals positive for some of the evidence. In addition, copies that move in Sierra Morena to Doñana under the genetic building program, must be negative Cytauxzoon spp. This parasite is not pathogenic for the Iberian lynx, is absent in the Doñana population and, although not pathogenic, it was decided not to insert in Doñana as a precaution.
|Photo-trapping helps detecting sanitary problems
Field checkup in Guarrizas. All material must be ready, even in
- Necropsies: all the Iberian lynx found dead underwent a complete necropsy, according to the manual prepared by the Advisory Group of Health Aspects in the Iberian lynx (GAAS). In Andalusia, necropsies are performed in the Center for Analysis and Diagnosis of Wildlife (CAD) in the province of Malaga. The aim of the necropsy is to get all possible information about the cause and circumstances of death, to obtain the maximum possible number of samples to conduct studies of diseases and toxicology, as well as samples for biological resource banks and somatic cells . Necropsies, plus health assessments conducted in live, provide the necessary information and updates on major threats from the point of view of health of wild populations of Iberian lynx.