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Why is the Iberian lynx in danger of extinction

Did you know that the Iberian lynx is one of the animal species most at risk of extinction? In fact, according to the IUCN Red List, the Iberian lynx or Lynx pardinus has been in danger for a long time. There are various reasons that make this peculiar feline at risk of disappearing, such as the destruction of its habitat, its illegal hunting, among other reasons. But, luckily, we can act on all of them to stop this situation and, in addition, thanks to projects dedicated to this, we are already beginning to see improvement in the life of this wild animal.

In AgroCorrn we tell you why the Iberian lynx is in danger of extinction , how to help them overcome this situation and more details about this feline.

You may also be interested in: Why is the Iberian wolf in danger of extinction

Main characteristics of the Iberian lynx

The Iberian lynx or Lynx Pardinus is a medium-sized feline that we can find in the Iberian Peninsula, specifically in Spain and Portugal, in the south of the European continent. Its most distinctive features or characteristics, apart from its medium size within felines, are its triangular ears with hair on the tip, its small mane around the cheeks and neck, its spots, its tail between 8 cm and 15 cm and his way of hunting, since he is able to jump up to 5 meters away. Other important characteristics of the Iberian lynx are the following:

Where does the Iberian lynx live

The Lynx Pardinus , as its common name indicates, is one of the felines that live in the Iberian Peninsula . Formerly they had a great distribution in this territory but for decades their population has been reduced to a few specimens in Andalusia. Today, as we will see later in this article, they live in more areas of this peninsula, between Spain and Portugal.

Specifically, they live in areas of Natural Parks, which are protected areas, in mountainous and semi-desert areas.

How much does the Iberian lynx weigh and how tall is it?

As we have already mentioned, it is a medium-sized feline , for example, it is much smaller than its relatives, lions, tigers, etc., but much larger than a wildcat or a domestic cat. Specifically, the measurements of this Iberian feline are between 85 cm and 110 cm in body length, without the tail, because if we have it, we must add between 8 cm and 15 cm. Regarding the weight of the Iberian lynx, this usually ranges between 12 kg and 15 kg in the case of males and between 9 and 15 kg for females.

What does the Iberian lynx eat

Iberian lynxes feed mainly on rabbits , which are abundant in the Iberian Peninsula. However, they also eat birds, such as partridges and quails, other small mammals, such as voles, and reptiles, such as lizards.

Find out more about this animal in these articles on 21 animals in danger of extinction in Spain and Animals in danger of extinction in Europe .

Why the Iberian lynx is in danger of extinction – causes

Among the causes of the danger of extinction of the Iberian lynx , the following stand out:

  • It is an animal that is highly specialized in its habitat and the type of prey it consumes, since although it can feed on other small animals, rabbits are its food base. For this reason, all the small changes that occur in its habitat and in its prey affect it a lot, since it does not have the facility to migrate to another place or to feed on other types of beings.
  • The first cause that caused its population to decline dramatically decades ago, reaching the brink of extinction, was that the rabbit population plummeted , by more than 80%. Wild rabbits were affected by two viruses (myxomatosis in the 1950s and viral rabbit haemorrhagic disease in the 1980s).
  • Their habitat has been greatly transformed by humans and much of it has been destroyed, as roads have been built, populations have risen, and so on.
  • Their habitat has also been greatly affected by problems such as natural disasters, such as fires.
  • Another serious cause of the lynx being in danger is poaching , illegal trafficking of species , the use of poisons, and so on.
  • In addition, a high number of lynxes are currently being killed by the cars of people who go on the roads of the areas where they live, either for living in the area or for tourism in the Natural Parks where the lynx.
  • They also have the threat of diseases , since the Iberian lynx is sensitive to many and another problem, also linked to this because they lose immunity before diseases, is that with so few individuals there is little genetic variability .

How many copies of Iberian lynx are left

In 2012, there were only 156 Iberian lynxes in freedom that were between Doñana and Sierra de Andújar, in Andalusia, but, luckily, it seems that the population of these felines began to improve and in recent years their population is considered to be going increasing, although very slowly since the dangers are still many.

Specifically, according to the latest records made by Life IberLince, the population has risen and in 2017 there were 589 lynxes in the wild, distributed among 8 population centers of the Iberian Peninsula. Now they are distributed mainly in Andalusia, where there are 448 specimens, but also in Extremadura (Badajoz), Castilla-La Mancha (Ciudad Real and Toledo) and in Portugal (Mértola).

That is why it is vital that we continue to help the conservation of this Iberian feline and its habitat , since it has been shown in recent years that the efforts made so far are proving positive and the species is on the way to recovery, although being very few.

How can we protect the Iberian lynx

To prevent the extinction of the Iberian lynx we can really do many things, both at a private level such as companies, associations, governments and public administrations. It is true that for decades there have already been plans and projects underway for the conservation of the Iberian lynx , which are already yielding results and that is why the population has currently increased, although they remain within the danger margin to be extinct.

Some of the measures to prevent the extinction of the Iberian lynx are:

  • Create more nature reserves and protected areas .
  • Increase vigilance in natural reserves and protected areas and take great care of the amount of vehicle traffic in them.
  • Increase fire protection in these areas and their cleaning of weeds and garbage.
  • Strengthen the laws against animal abuse, poaching and illegal trafficking of species.
  • Create more projects for its preservation.
  • Support economically and voluntarily the associations, platforms and recovery and reintroduction programs that are dedicated to the recovery of this species.
  • At a particular level, if we visit areas where they live, we must remember to take care of the environment, not dirty it in any way, as well as not disturb the animals and report to the police or the relevant associations if we see an illegal act by someone throw cigarette butts and glass in these areas until trying to hunt or capture these protected animals).
  • Help educate and raise awareness among the world population, and especially the Spanish and Portuguese, of the importance of caring for the Iberian lynx and its habitat.
Maria Anderson

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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