Common Names: Iberian Lynx, Pardel Lynx, Spanish Lynx Scientific Name: Lynx Pardinus Status: Critically Endangered Populous: Between 84 to 143 adults Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata) Class: Mammalia Order: Carnivora Family: Felidae 2004; Simón Mata 2006). Iberian lynx cubs born in the wild bring hope for the world's most endangered feline species. A decline in food – Rabbits are the main prey of Iberian Lynxes and thanks to their steady decline, also thanks to human beings, with diseases such as Myxamatosis drastically decreasing wild rabbit populations. “Today, the situation is pretty good and I think we can be optimistic and fairly calm because we haven’t just recovered the population in Andalucía, we’ve also built populations in Portugal – where the lynx was extinct – and in Extremadura and Castilla-La Mancha,” says Simón. They also want to work harder to educate people about how important these animals are for the natural balance in that ecosystem. By the turn of the century fewer than 200 individuals remained in 2 isolated subpopulations in southern Spain, Doñana National Park and the eastern Sierra Morena Mountains (Guzmán et al. As a result, the Iberian lynx is still threatened with being the first feline to become extinct since the sabre-toothed tiger 10,000 years ago. In 2002, there were fewer than 100 left in the wild. Beautiful once-endangered Iberian lynx are now thriving in Spain. “And you’re talking about an animal that does a really good job of balancing out the food chain of the Mediterranean ecosystem.”. Government efforts to get rid of creatures considered to be vermin, which lasted until the mid-1970s, took a terrible toll, as did a catastrophic drop in rabbit numbers following the arrival of myxomatosis in the 1950s and then rabbit hemorrhagic disease in the 1980s. The Iberian lynx is the world's most endangered cat. At the end of the last century, however, things looked decidedly bleak for the bearded cats – and for rabbits, which make up 90% of their diet. Iberian Lynx is an endemic cat species that is found in Iberian Peninsula, Europe. When a lynx comes along, explains Pérez de Ayala, the density of foxes and mongooses goes down and rabbit populations increase. After decades of decline and habitat contraction, in 2015 the IUCN decided to downgrade the Iberian Lynx from “critically endangered” to “endangered”. Due to that fact many people are involved in conservation efforts for them. 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The latest phase of the programme, the five-year Life Lynxconnect project, has a budget of €18.8m, 60% of which comes from the EU. Both those factors were compounded by the destruction and isolation of habitats that came with motorway building and a greater human presence. Without the rabbits the Lynxes cannot eat, and if they can’t eat, they starve. Now there are over 300. All rights reserved. Their faces have a dark beard-like pattern around their mouths and their ears feature strikingly prominent black tufts. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. Over the last 200 years or so, Iberian Lynx populations have drastically declined, so much so in fact that there are only two fully confirmed and very isolated breeding populations located in Southern Spain. By the year 1914 they were largely confined to southern Portugal and Spain. There are populations in the Sierra Morena and Donaña national park. It is of medium size and is smaller than the similar Eurasian lynx, which also has a characteristically bobbed tail, a spotted coat, long legs and a muscular body. Hunting and road hits – With these animals being considered both prize hunting trophies and vermin, which is slightly ironic, they have therefore been hunted and killed for their fur, their meat, and by farmers and game keepers as they pose a threat to their live stock. By 2000, they existed in two small populations: 70-80 cats in the south of Andalusia and 170-180 individuals in the Sierra Morena. Read More The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), sometimes referred to as the Spanish lynx, is a critically endangered species native to the Iberian Peninsula in Southern Europe.It is the most endangered cat species in the world. As mentioned, Iberian Lynx’s reside in Southern Spain. But, he adds, environmental harmony is only one of the many reasons why the peninsula’s unique wild cat must remain well spotted. Despite its speed and agility, it has a monastic diet, feeding almost exclusively on rabbits. These big cats once thrived in Spain, Portugal, and even in parts of Southern France. They have short tails with black tips and are ordinarily a tawny colour with very dark spots. The Iberian lynx is the world's most endangered cat. Between 1985 and 2001, their range declined by 87% and the number of breeding females dropped by more than 90%. Iberian Lynx has got very good attention from both government and other wildlife organizations over the past decades. Protecting the land where they live is a vital part of helping them to increase in population. The species is fast dwindling and is now in an endangered species on IUCN Red List . “We’re going to do some genetic tracking so we can monitor the situation and see if we need to move individuals artificially.”. Their numbers were decimated by rapid habitat loss, with scrublands converted to agriculture and pine and eucalyptus plantations. The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is a wild cat species endemic to the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. “Every species has an intrinsic value that can’t be lost – it would be like demolishing a cathedral,” he says. And where it could still flourish today - with a little help. We just didn’t know if there was any way to save them – they were right on the edge and in critical danger of extinction. The Iberian, or Spanish, Lynx is currently one of the most endangered wild cat species in the world. It is similar to other versions of the genus Lynx. With more and more roads being constructed, naturally more traffic is on the roads and so more of these animals are being struck and killed by these vehicles. This is primarily due to the loss of its prey, rabbits, which are heavily affected by viruses. The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is considered the most endangered wild feline species in the world and the only feline listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (2010). According to the latest survey, the lynx population on the peninsula has increased ninefold over 18 years, rising from 94 in 2002 to 855 this year. The Iberian lynx (L. pardinus), which is also known as the Spanish lynx or the Pardel lynx, bears a strong resemblance to the Eurasian lynx but may be distinguished by its smaller size; short, dark-tipped tail; and the presence of long, white, beardlike…. They reside in sand dunes and heavily forested areas. Iberian lynx is continuing to claw its way back across Spain and Portugal, Government efforts to get rid of creatures considered to be vermin, Graphic of areas in Spain lynx is prevalent. It has three distinct coat patterns – with the hair in the belly region being of lighter color than the rest of the body. [2] According to SOS Lynx, if this species died out, it would be the first feline extinction since the Smilodon 10,000 years ago. Lack of genetic diversity and poor movement corridors between consolidated nuclei of Spain’s Iberian lynx —current threats to the future of the species - … Without the rabbits the Lynxes cannot eat, and if they can’t eat, they starve. Archaeological data show that this cat was once well distributed throughout the Me… He estimates it will take another 20 years of hard work before Spain and Portugal can claim to have saved the lynx. It is … Endangered status due to habitat loss of scrublands, illegal hunting and death from traps and fox baits. The Iberian lynx has been brought to the brink of extinction because of a combination of threats: Decreasing food base Rabbits form the main prey of the Iberian lynx. Their strategy of seeking money and engagement from politicians, and cooperation from landowners and the public, gradually paid off. The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is the most endangered felid and a unique example of a species on the brink of extinction. The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is a feline. Lynx became legally protected in 1973 in Spain and 1974 in Portugal. The species were overhunted and poached in the 20th century, you may be wondering how many Iberian lynx are left in the world? They’re predators, feeding mainly on rabbits, although ducks, partridges, and young deer are also eaten when rabbits are hard to come by. It is an endangered species that have is listed as the second most endangered cat on … But their future is far from secure. The Iberian lynx has almost no threats except man, but it is almost extinct. SPECIES- Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus) CURRENT RANGE- Iberian Peninsula, Europe CURRENT THREAT- Habitat loss, Poisoning, Road Casualties, Feral Dogs CONSERVATION STATUS- Critically Endangered WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM- Doñana National Park, Spain WHAT IS IT? The Iberian Lynx can be described as having a small head, long legs, flared ruff in the face area, and a short but very dark tipped tail. Started by two diseases. Miguel Ángel Simón, a biologist who spent 22 years conserving and building up lynx numbers before retiring last year, remembers the daunting scale of the task he and his colleagues faced.“When we started back in 2000, we didn’t even know how many lynxes were left,” he says. Experts say that if the current conservation and reintroduction efforts can maintain their momentum, the species could be out of danger by 2040. It is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Unfortunately, these cats aren’t dying out by accident, and not surprisingly it is human beings that have played a big role in their steady decline over the years. They are pushing the government to enforce laws to make it illegal to harm them. It is here, under the merciless Andalusian sun, that since 2003 a team of 10 dedicated experts and several volunteers have been bringing the magnificent Iberian lynx, the world's most endangered cat, back to life. WWF and its partners are working to restore the Iberian lynx to areas where it used to live. Spanish scientists have sequenced the genome of the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), currently one of the world's most endangered felines. Iberian Lynxes can be instantly recognised by their heavily spotted bodies complete with thick fur and long legs. ONCE on the endangered-species list, Spain’s native Iberian lynx population is thriving, having grown from just 94 animals located in Andalucia in 2004 to nearly 700 nationwide in the most-recently conducted census by wildlife monitoring teams. Between now and then, existing populations will have to be blended and increased, and new ones established in rabbit-rich habitats. Rabbits, their main food source, have declined after the introduction of the myxamatosis virus. Javier Salcedo, the project’s new leader, said the main aim was to join up existing populations and increase their genetic diversity. A lynx (/ l ɪ ŋ k s /; plural lynx or lynxes) is any of the four species (Canada lynx, Iberian lynx, Eurasian lynx, bobcat) within the medium-sized wild cat genus Lynx.The name lynx originated in Middle English via Latin from the Greek word λύγξ, derived from the Indo-European root leuk-('light, brightness') in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes. The most rare of the lynx species, the Iberian lynx, is the most threatened cat species, currently on the verge of extinction. The first half on how the Iberian Lynx became critically endangered. For Pérez de Ayala and many others, protecting the lynx is a moral and ecological imperative. In lynx: Iberian lynx. “On a more emotional level, the lynx is a jewel and a thing of beauty to behold.”, Available for everyone, funded by readers. There are four main factors contributing towards their decline, and these include: A decline in food – Rabbits are the main prey of Iberian Lynxes and thanks to their steady decline, also thanks to human beings, with diseases such as Myxamatosis drastically decreasing wild rabbit populations. As they are so severely under threat, Spanish governments have actually proposed seventy two separate protected sites to conserve the natural habitats of the animals. “We need to see an exchange of animals that will give us an exchange of genes,” he says. the numbers are low as 100 and they were on the verge of extinction. In 2002, there were fewer than 100 left in the wild. By the 1960’s, they were largely confined to Spain, covering around 10% of the surface of Spain. Established in 1964, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species. In adult it has a very distinct facial ruff. “We found out from the first census that there were 94 and we thought that they were going to disappear. They have confirmed the "extreme erosion" suffered by its DNA. Loss of habitat – With large built up areas, infrastructure, the construction of buildings, and much more on top of that, much of the habitat of these Lynxes has been destroyed. A series of projects, coordinated by the Andalucían government in conjunction with other Spanish regions, the Portuguese authorities and conservation NGOs, has arrested the decline, expanded populations and seen lynxes reintroduced to other areas. The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is one of the world’s most endangered wild cats The 2015 census released by the government of Andalusia, Spain, on 4 April shows a significant increase in the Iberian lynx population , which has reached the highest number of individuals since the 2002 negative record. Since 2002, the population size has steadily increased in the Andalusian subpopulations, although in 2013 and 2014 this recovery has suffered a halt due to the decline in prey populations. In 1970, the hunting of Iberian Lynx was made illegal. Still, the people behind the project are upbeat. Jun 9, 2020 - The Iberian lynx from Spain & Portugal is the most critically endangered of the wildcat species. In the absence of lynxes, medium-sized predators that eat rabbits – such as foxes and Egyptian mongooses – put prey species under a lot of pressure. The Iberian Lynx is considered to be critically endangered at this time. In 2002, IUCN Cat Specialist Group initiated the first International Conference on the Conservation of the Iberian Lynx in Andujar, Spain. Back then, they were the most endangered felines in the world. In the 20th century, the Iberian lynx population had declined because of overhunting and poaching, fragmentation of suitable habitats; the population of its main prey species, the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), experienced a severe decline caused by myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease. The Lynx from the Iberian Peninsula: Highly Endangered 13 November, 2020 Even if it’s true that the recovery plans for the species are working, the fact is that … The Iberian Lynx, also called the Lynx Pardinus, is known for its coat of yellowish to reddish-brown coat of hair. Iberian lynx are classified as endangered and are the world’s most endangered species of cat, with less than one thousand animals in the wild. Spotty of coat, tufty of ear, and teetering on the verge of extinction less than two decades ago, the Iberian lynx is continuing to claw its way back across Spain and Portugal. If luck stays on our side, we'll have at least 750 females of reproductive age – 3,000 lynxes in total – by 2040. As Mentioned, there are only around 1000 of these cats left in the wild. In 1996, IUCN identified Iberian Lynx as the most endangered among all the wild cat species in the world. Our first aim was just to stop them becoming extinct.”. The 2019 census, carried out using camera-traps and large reserves of patience, revealed that more than 80% of the lynx population is in Spain, that 311 kittens were born on the peninsula last year and that there were 188 females of reproductive age. The Iberian lynx is a fussy eater. Equally important will be the mapping and marking of blackspots: in 2019, 34 lynxes died after being run over. Epidemics, such as myxamatosis and the haemorrhagic disease, have affected rabbit populations over the years, which has in turn affected the Iberian lynx population. A 20-year project to reintroduce the species across the peninsula has seen their numbers rise to 855. Spotty of coat, tufty of ear, and teetering on the verge of extinction less than two decades ago, the Iberian lynx is continuing to claw its way back across Spain and Portugal. These sites will cover 2,750,000 hectares and are designed to help conserve their natural habitats and hopefully help them to breed and begin thriving once more. Pérez de Ayala is also upbeat about the future of the lynx and hopes to see it move from the endangered category of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of threatened species into the vulnerable category. Ramón Pérez de Ayala, the large carnivores coordinator for WWF Spain – one of 21 partners in the latest project – warns that lynx populations are in danger of developing genetic problems if they remain isolated. Genomic studies of endangered species provide insights into their evolution and demographic history, reveal patterns of genomic erosion that might limit their viability, and offer tools for their effective conservation. The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is a wildcat native to the Iberian Peninsula in the southwestern part of Europe. Human development such as … Like its distant cousin, the leopards, lynxes have dark brown spots of different sizes. In this tiny cluster of freshly-painted, white houses deep inside the Donana National Park in southern Spain, a small miracle is taking place every day. Equally important will be the mapping and marking of blackspots: in 2019, 34 Lynxes died after being over. 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