The World Wildlife Fund has classified the Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus) as the world’s most endangered wild cat, with the possibility that it may soon become the first wild cat species to become extinct in at least 2,000 years.
Iberian Lynxes weigh between 22 and 28 pounds (10 – 13 kg), and they are between 34 and 39 inches tall (88 to 100 cm). Their fur is tawny in color with dark spots. They’ve got a beard around their face and prominent black ear tufts. They have long legs and very short tails with black tufts on the end.
Also known as the Pardel Lynx and the Spanish Lynx, it’s estimated that only 84 to 143 adult Iberian Lynx are currently in existence. Their population as steadily declined over the past two hundred years due to:
- Decreasing number of prey (reduced rabbit population)
- Habitat loss and “degradation” as a result of railroads, dams, and human encroachment upon their range that used to spread from Southern France, to Spain and Portugal.
- Cat hits
Only two isolated breeding populations remaining in the world were found at the beginning of the last decade, both located in southern Spain consisting of 100 adults, with only 25 breeding females. Female Iberian Lynxes give birth to an average litter size of three between March and April.
The World Wildlife Fund has been working for the past ten years to increase the number of wild Iberian Lynxes. through joint efforts with groups like Spanish national and regional administrations, numerous non-governmental organizations and the European Union. The 2009 census of wild Iberian Lynxes showed, as a result of conservation efforts, that their population is increasing and seven adults have been introduced to the area of Guadalmellato (Córdoba, Spain) with the hope of establishing a third Lynx territory.
What can you do? You can spread the word about the plight of the Iberian Lynx and get involved with the World Wildlife Fund.
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