For the vision of Europe as a wilder place to succeed, with much more spaces for nature and wildlife, it is crucially important that new generations also get the opportunity to discover, feel and respect nature.
The Iberian lynx conservation efforts are giving very good results this year. 60 cubs were born in five breeding facilities in Spain and Portugal this spring, and 44 are still alive. This is the highest number of gestated pups from the beginning of the ex-situ breeding program and gives a total of 115 cubs since 2005.
The disappearance of grazing herds of sheep and goats transformed large areas of the Mediterranean mountain landscape into forest with dense undergrowth and scrub. These landscapes are particularly susceptible to large fires and extremely dry summers due to climate change increase the chances of this. But with the return of native herbivores such as deer, ibex, wild horses and wild cattle, semi-natural landscapes, which are much less vulnerable to fires, are once again formed.
From the very fragmented, small-landowner landscape in northeastern Portugal, we suddenly come into a big, already quite raw and wild-looking area: the 600 hectare Faia Brava private nature reserve, in the dramatic Côa valley. This is Portugal’s first private reserve and it is owned by Associaçâo Transumância e Natureza, who is working to rewild it, taking away all extractive use and bringing back lost wildlife, as well as protecting the already existing precious locally breeding wildlife: the Bonelli’s eagle, the golden eagle, griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, eagle owl etc. And taking care of the cultural heritage sites in the reserve as well.