Iberian Lynx: the Next Wild Cat Extinction?

Wildlife — By on October 6, 2010 at 6:42 am
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The Iberian Lynx is the world's most endangered wild cat

The Iberian Lynx is the world’s most endangered feline – much more so than even the severely endangered tigers.  Only about 150-225 of the animals are left in the wild.  Scientists and other experts believe the species could be the next wild cat extinction.

In fact, SOS Lynx, a conservation group, predicts that the Iberian Lynx may be the first feline extinction in 10,000 years.

 Iberian Lynx: the Next Wild Cat Extinction?

Iberian Lynx kittens

Iberian Lynx cats live on the Iberian Peninsula in Spain and Portugal.  At current populations levels, it could be nearly impossible to secure the wild cats’ survival.

Sadly, the Iberian Lynx’s endangered species status is largely due to human activities: loss of habitat, hunting and predator control, road kills and reduction in their prey have all contributed to a drastic decline in population over the past few decades.

Over 95% of the Iberian Lynxes have been killed off in just 50 years.  Populations hover between 150-220 cats, down from over 4,000 Iberian Lynx animals in 1960.

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A young Iberian Lynx

According to Wikipedia:

This lynx was distributed over the entire Iberian Peninsula as recently as the mid nineteenth century. It is now restricted to very small areas, with breeding only confirmed in two areas of Andalucía, southern Spain.

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Its habitat loss is due mainly to infrastructure improvement, urban and resort development and tree monocultivation, which serves to break the lynx’s distribution area. In addition, the lynx prey population of rabbits is also declining due to diseases like myxomatosis and hemorrhagic pneumonia.

Today, the habitat of the Iberian lynx is protected and the hunting of the wild cats is prohibited.  But could it be too little, too late?

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Can we save the Iberian Lynx?

Conservation efforts are underway to help save the Iberian Lynx.

Since 2005, several female Iberian Lynxes have given birth to kittens through captive breeding programs.  In addition, conservationists are working to monitor site conditions in the areas in which Iberian Lynxes are found, including Doñana National Park.

Eventually, the hope is to begin re-introductions this year and next, in areas of Spain that the wild cats once called home.

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The Iberian Lynx is fighting extinction

If you want to donate money or help raise awareness of the need to preserve the Iberian Lynx, there are a number of sites at which you can get more information:

Let’s do everything we can to prevent the Iberian Lynx from becoming the next wild cat extinction.

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3 Comments

  1. Monique says:

    none of this is true jk so much valuble information but ive gotten like alot of facts and im starting to see the same things on all websites try to put something on here nobody else has

  2. Tanya says:

    I have to do a report on this cat and I feel so bad for them! I’ve learned a lot about this particular animal and its heartbreaking to hear what this animal has been through. It’s nice to know that people are trying to help. The Iberian Lynx is such a beautiful animal and it would be a shame to know they got extinct because of human actions.

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