Lynx population monitoring
In order to conserve a species, it is essential to understand it on a biological, environmental, and also ethological (ethology: science that studies animal behaviour). The techniques used by technical personnel in the project to gather information on lynx populations are:
The lynx are tagged with a transmitter that is mounted on a collar weighing 200 g. The transmitter emits a (radio) signal at a pre-determined frequency, which is received by the technician's receiver. Currently, transmitters are being equipped with GPS satellite signals, which send information to the Terminal (mobile phone or portable computer), streamlining animal location work. Not all lynx are tagged with transmitters (radio signal), there are 10 in Sierra Morena (4 in Yeguas and 6 in Jandula) and 14 in Do§ana (as of November 2007). This technique allows researchers to locate the animals, find dens, know if they are moving or not, and even to quickly locate the carcasses of dead lynx, making it easier for them to determine the cause of death.
When the presence of a lynx is suspected in a certain area, a camera trap device is installed. This consists of a camouflaged digital camera with a movement activated trigger, and a decoy or bait to bring the lynx close (a rabbit or a pigeon in a cage or the urine of another lynx). With this technique, photographed lynx can be identified by each animal's unique pattern of spots. It also allows researchers to see the appearance and state of health of the photographed animal, if it is sick, wounded, well fed, if it has cubs, etc.