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A small step for a lynx, a giant leap for the species' survival

Animal seen using a highway over-passage for first time in key Doñana reserve

A grainy image on Sunday in the national park of Doñana represents one of the greatest advances in the struggle to conserve the Iberian lynx, the world's most endangered feline species.

For the first time since efforts began in earnest to preserve the iconic animal, technicians working on the reintroduction of captive-bred lynx into the wild captured footage of a young animal using a so-called ecoduct - a raised passage over a highway designed to prevent lynx from being hit by traffic, one of the greatest threats to the project, in the Doñana reserve.

Latest environment department figures in Andalusia, which, along with Castilla-La Mancha, is the lynx's final redoubt, recorded 279 animals and an increase of 109 percent in new births.