Wild rabbit increasing
Collaborative agreements with private property are the basis of performance of the LIFE-Lince, since most of the Iberian lynx population living in privately owned spaces. The Ministry of Environment has developed a legal instrument d from Law 8 / 2003, of Wild Fauna and Flora, Article 5, paragraph 1 and 4, where it is determined that the Ministry competent for the environment may conclude collaboration agreements with landowners or owners of rights for the conservation of flora and fauna of Andalusia. This tool is key to the project LIFE-Lince, since much of the Iberian lynx population is located on privately owned farms. With the collaboration agreements entered into between the beneficiary and the owner, remembers making improvements to the rabbit habitat, primarily through increased food and shelter. Occasionally, if the density of rabbits is very low and if the interest of the property, the agreement includes the reduction of hunting pressure on the rabbit hunting by leasing the hunt for the Iberian lynx. Improvement actions are critical habitat for the recovery of the rabbit, because changes in the ecosystem caused by man (such as forest plantations, adehesado excessive brush removal, loss of ecotones, etc..) affected very negatively the species.
This conservation action model for the lynx and its habitat, based on Agreements with private property owners was first established in our country in 1999, the CBD-Habitat Foundation.
Habitat improvements actions are essential to the recovery of this animal species.. Generalised degradation of the natural environment has affected not only the lynx, but many other species as well. Similarly, changes in land use (turning to large expanses of monoculture) have generated huge transformations of natural areas, changing the behaviour of certain species, such as the rabbit.
The activities planned under this project are geared toward habitat improvement in territories occupied or with the potential to be occupied by the feline.
We can classify them in the following table:
When the number of rabbits in an area is so low that the habitat management is not sufficient to increase the density of rabbits, rabbit restocking is carried out . It is carried out by movement of individuals from areas where they are abundant (it is intended that the donor population is as close as possible to the recipient one) and subsequent release in about 4-10 ha enclosures. The release in meshed fencing avoid predation in some species of mammals, and thus reduce mortality during the early stages. This type of management has been the best results has been shown to repopulate wild rabbits.
Some actions performed in rabbit restocking management:
Release of rabbits
Supplementary feeding program
Another action taken to increase the carrying capacity of the habitat is supplementary feeding. It is also thought that, incidentally, it helps increasing the natural population of rabbits by decreasing predation pressure on wild rabbits. This action is the provision of domestic rabbits in the Iberian lynx territories with very low density of wild rabbits. Supplementary feeding is done only in cases of necessity, and always following a strict protocol designed for it.
Iberian lynx capturing a rabbit in a supplementary feeding station