The Iberian lynx and its struggle for survival
The Iberian lynx is a critically endangered species of feline which mainly lives in Spain. Like other lynxes, it has tufted ears, long legs, a short tail and some beard-like fur on its face. However, unlike some of its relatives, it is tawny coloured and spotted. The head and body length is 85 from 110 centimetres (33 to 43 inches), and the shoulder height is from 60 to 70 centimetres (24 to 28 inches).
This animal is unfortunately in danger: it has been categorized as critically endangered by the Union for the Conservation of Nature, amongst other institutions. There are at least two reasons for that. Firstly, the Iberian lynx is basically a rabbit eater and it finds it hard to adapt its diet. Considering two diseases have caused an important decrease in the rabbit’s population, you can imagine how that has affected the lynx. Also, human development has caused the loss of areas of scrubland, the lynx’s main habitat.
In the last few decades, the number of Iberian lynxes decreased dramatically, until there were 94 Andalucía in 2002 and barely 15 in Castilla- La Mancha in 2005. There have been several attempts at reintroduction in the last few years, which helped the population rise up to 300 lynxes in Andalucía in 2013.
Another attempt took place last year near Badajoz, Extremadura, where ten lynxes were released into the wild. The good news came a few weeks ago, when it was reported that at least two lynx cubs had been born. The mother, Kodiak, wasn’t supposed to give birth so soon, as she’s just two years old and lynxes usually don’t start having cubs until they are three. Both cubs are apparently very healthy, although now they must face the dangers of life in the wild.
It’s obviously very difficult to have big population increases in the short term, so the birth of a few pups is really great news. Let’s hope that these attempts to reintroduce the Iberian lynx are successful in the long term and this beautiful animal doesn’t disappear from our planet.