A FAMILY of 13 Iberian Lynxes trapped in the Doñana National Park forest fire have finally been found and moved to safety, although another has died in the process because of the trauma of being captured and transported.
The creatures, an endangered species closely monitored in the Andalucía nature reserve in a bid to increase their population, live in semi-freedom at the El Acebuche breeding centre, but when the inferno broke out in the Moguer (Huelva province) area they were surrounded by flames and unable to be evacuated.
Some 36 hours after the blaze erupted, they have been caught using humane traps similar to those used for 'trap, neuter, return' programmes with feral cats.
A total of 11 were caught on Monday morning, but two others remained unaccounted for until later that evening, according to the conservation and wildlife charity LIFE Iberlince Andalucía.
The flames were just two kilometres from the El Acebuche centre and licking the edges of the Doñana, hindering the animals' evacuation.
Five males, four females and five babies were rescued on Sunday, but workers from the breeding centre had to go back for the remaining 13.
Another, a female called Homer who has already had several litters, was overcome by the stress of the fire, smoke, capture and being moved from her site, and died of a probable heart attack on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the 14 others evacuated on Sunday have been able to return to their habitat as it was deemed safe enough, and the blaze was sufficiently contained to ensure they would not be in the risk zone.
So far, 2,000 people have been evacuated – mostly from a hotel, two holiday parks and a military base, but also thought to include some residents – but firefighters expect to have the inferno under control by today (Tuesday).