156

Iberian Lynx

Europe

156

Lynx pardinus

Endangered

The following factors all contribute to the diminishing population of the Iberian Lynx:

  • Its main food source – rabbits – is becoming scarce
  • Habitat degradation and loss due to construction of roads, railways, and highways
  • Road kill victims
  • Victims of illegal hunting as it is considered either a trophy or vermin

The Iberian Lynx, a wild cat native in southwestern Europe, has been on the world’s most endangered list of animals by the turn of the 21st century.

In 2001, its population has gone down to less than 100. Conservation efforts for the past several years resulted in an increase of almost 700 mature individuals. Nevertheless, the Iberian Lynx is still not safe from threats of extinction.

This is caused by the increasing lack of access to its main prey: rabbits. And as more human structures are built (roads, railways, and highways) on its area of habitat, the Iberian Lynx has found itself being pushed out of its territory – which also increases its risk of being hit by speeding vehicles.

The Iberian Lynx is also hunted down for its prized fur or falling victims to shotguns and poisoning by farmers and landowners who consider it a nuisance or vermin.

This stealthy rabbit-loving predator is characterised by heavy spot patterns with varying colours from yellow, red, brown, and black. It has flared facial whiskers, prominent ear tufts, and a dark-tipped short tail.