Spain will install a state-of-the-art traffic light system. This will help the endangered Iberian lynx survive in its natural habitat. Speeding cars are a big threat to the endangered wild cat. Therefore, the traffic light system will allow the lynx to cross roads that run in between its habitat. The Andalusian regional government in southern Spain is set to invest €370,000 (approx. $401,000) in the whole program.
The system works in a highly sophisticated manner. Infrared sensors and thermal cameras will detect the lynx as it nears roads. Then it will alert motorists on the road and warn them to slow down. Of course, the system will stop sending the warning signal once the vehicles do slow down.
Local veterinarians have been helping the Iberian lynx population survive. Together, they founded a twenty year conservation program to restore their numbers. This is known as the Life LynxConnect. The program seeks to track the wild cats by placing a GPS collar on them. Furthermore, they are sent back into the wild with their collars.
Twenty years back, this lynx was termed as “critically endangered”. Hunting, habitat loss and further human interference was a massive threat to the lynx. As a matter of fact, this threat looms even today. The lynx’s staple food source, rabbits, fell victim to disease. This further reduced their numbers. Only 94 of these felines roamed in the wild in 2002 according to researchers. That was a dangerously low number.
Fast forward to present day, some progress has been made in saving the lynx. There are now 1,100 of these cats roaming around in Spain and Portugal according to a 2020 census. While this number might not seem much, it is a massive leap from the 2002 digits. However, the Iberian lynx is still endangered. While this is massive progress, a lot more needs to be done in order to save this magnificent animal.