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The Iberian Lynx

The Iberian Lynx

May 2012: It has a lustrous, heavily spotted coat, beautiful black-outlined eyes and tufted ears – it’s a cat but not one found in Asia or Africa. It is Europe’s big cat. The gorgeous Iberian lynx is considered to be the world’s most endangered feline species. It may soon be the first cat species to be extinct in 2,000 years.

The Iberian lynx and its habitat are thankfully protected, though it may be too late to save this amazing feline. Habitat loss, poisoning, road casualties, feral dogs and poaching have led to this terrible situation.

There are only 38 breeding females remaining in the wild. In the past, it was hunted for sport and for its fur but the main reasons for its rapid decline have been habitat loss and degradation, and the disappearance of its primary food – rabbits.

Related to the Eurasian lynx and the Canada lynx, it is found only in southern Europe, primarily in Portugal and Spain.  It has long legs and a short tail with a black tip. It has a characteristic ‘beard’ around its face and black ear tufts. It weighs between 10 kg. (female) to 13 kg. (male). It is an excellent predator – it has powerful jaws, its hearing is extremely sharp and its huge eyes allow it to see in the dark.  When it catches a rabbit, it eats it within minutes and only the skin is left behind.

First appeared in: Sanctuary Cub, May 2012


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