Conserving the Iberian lynx

Captive breeding and translocation are key to the ongoing effort to conserve the Iberian lynx, and have brought the species back from the brink of extinction. Photographed by Laurent Geslin.

Laurent spent three months in Andalusia photographing this incredibly rare and evasive species, setting up camera-traps in areas with a healthy supply of rabbits for the lynx to hunt. © Laurent Geslin.

About the photographer

Laurent Geslin is an award-winning photographer whose pictures appear in magazines around the world. For the past five years he has been photographing lynx in the Alps and the Jura Mountains, where he now lives.

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See more amazing wildlife photos by Laurent Geslin on his website.

To view the images as a slideshow, click on the arrows in the top right hand corner of the photos below.

South Andalusia is a stronghold of the Iberian lynx. Thanks to Life+Iberlince, one of Europe’s biggest conservation projects ever, the species’ IUCN status has improved from Critically Endangered to Endangered. © Laurent Geslin
South Andalusia is a stronghold of the Iberian lynx. Thanks to Life+Iberlince, one of Europe’s biggest conservation projects ever, the species’ IUCN status has improved from Critically Endangered to Endangered. © Laurent Geslin.
Rabbits are the main prey item of the Iberian lynx, so the cat is extremely sensitive to variations in the lagomorph’s population. © Laurent Geslin
Rabbits are the main prey item of the Iberian lynx, so the cat is extremely sensitive to variations in the lagomorph’s population. © Laurent Geslin.
If the supply of rabbits falls far enough, male lynx may be forced to leave their territories to search for alternative prey. Here José Manuel Martín Sánchez reintroduces rabbits as part of his work for the Andalusian government. © Laurent Geslin.
If the supply of rabbits falls far enough, male lynx may be forced to leave their territories to search for alternative prey. Here José Manuel Martín Sánchez reintroduces rabbits as part of his work for the Andalusian government. © Laurent Geslin.
The Iberian lynx is the smallest species of lynx (65–100cm head to body, and 5–15kg). All four species have tufted ears and a spotted coat, but the Iberian lynx has the most prominent whiskers. © Laurent Geslin.
The Iberian lynx is the smallest species of lynx (65–100cm head to body, and 5–15kg). All four species have tufted ears and a spotted coat, but the Iberian lynx has the most prominent whiskers. © Laurent Geslin.
Scientists from the Andalusian government are fitting lynx with collars to find out about their behaviour. A female such as this can live in a small territory of 3–4km2, as long as there is enough food. © Laurent Geslin.
Scientists from the Andalusian government are fitting lynx with collars to find out about their behaviour. A female such as this can live in a small territory of 3–4km2, as long as there is enough food. © Laurent Geslin.
La Olivilla in the Montes de La Aliseda, Santa Elena, Andalusia, opened in 2007 and is one of the biggest breeding centres involved in the programme. When they are almost a year old the cats will be translocated to increase existing populations or establish the species in new territories. © Laurent Geslin.
La Olivilla in the Montes de La Aliseda, Santa Elena, Andalusia, opened in 2007 and is one of the biggest breeding centres involved in the programme. When they are almost a year old the cats will be translocated to increase existing populations or establish the species in new territories. © Laurent Geslin.
Road accidents are a major cause of mortality in Iberian lynx – according to the 2015 census 51 animals have been killed this way during the past three years. © Laurent Geslin.
Road accidents are a major cause of mortality in Iberian lynx – according to the 2015 census 51 animals have been killed this way during the past three years. © Laurent Geslin.
Biologist María Isabel García and Joaquín Pérez Marín set up camera-traps between Andújar and Santa Elena in Andalusia to monitor lynx populations. © Laurent Geslin.
Biologist María Isabel García and Joaquín Pérez Marín set up camera-traps between Andújar and Santa Elena in Andalusia to monitor lynx populations. © Laurent Geslin.
At La Olivilla vets give young animals a thorough health assessment to make sure that they are ready to be released. © Laurent Geslin.
At La Olivilla vets give young animals a thorough health assessment to make sure that they are ready to be released. © Laurent Geslin.
Laurent spent three months in Andalusia photographing this incredibly rare and evasive species, setting up camera-traps in areas with a healthy supply of rabbits for the lynx to hunt. © Laurent Geslin.
Laurent spent three months in Andalusia photographing this incredibly rare and evasive species, setting up camera-traps in areas with a healthy supply of rabbits for the lynx to hunt. © Laurent Geslin.

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This gallery originally appeared in BBC Wildlife Magazine. Take a look inside the current issue and find out how to subscribe.