Lara Baptista, 29, from Lisbon, is a veterinary at CNRLI since July 2015.
The image of the Iberian-lynx in the Serra da Malcata Natural Reserve’s boards caught Lara’s attention several years ago. By then she already loved nature, specially wildlife. Before starting at CNRLI, she worked as a volunteer in recuperation centres and worked in several hospitals for small animals. For seven months she worked in a recuperation centre for wildlife in Spain. “Last year I heard there was a vacancy for a veterinary at CNRLI and now here I am.”
Lara knew the story about this species but little about the breeding program or the reintroduction in Portugal. “I knew too little. The success of a reintroduction program depends on people’s awareness and the knowledge they have on the specie’s role in the ecosystem. I think there’s little information in Portugal about that.”
The majority of Lara’s work is to observe the lynx in Silves on the surveillance monitors and to assess behaviours and eventual problems, in order to be able to know when there’s a need to intervene. “It’s very rare for us to do it. But when it’s necessary, the animals are anesthetized and we take advantage of that opportunity to observe them, from the tip of the ears to the tail. We take samples that will help us know better that lynx and the species.”
Lara was surprised by the Iberian-lynx’s behaviours. “They are felines, curious and unpredictable. They make us smile many times”, especially when there are cubs at the centre. “It’s very challenging to observe the different behaviours between mothers and cubs. There are some wiser, others more worried.”
The best moments at CNRLI are the ones that involve observe the cubs development and to watch them being released in the wild. “Those are very emotional moments, when we open the cage and they run to their natural homes. It’s, by far, the best part of this job.”
The worst part is receiving the news that an animal has died. “It’s revolting.”
A team from Wilder has been at CNRLI for two days on March 2015. In this series we show you how is it to work at this centre and all the people who take care of this endangered species.