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Iberian Lynx - Lynx pardinus

By: C.M.Shorter

The Iberian Lynx or Spanish Lynx is currently the most endangered "Wild Cat" species in the world. Hunting along the Spanish-French border this native of the Mediterranean woodlands moves along grasses on the edges of meadowland hunting their favorite prey - the European rabbit. Although these rare hunters will take other prey when rabbits are scarce, it is these same rabbits that put them at the greatest risk.

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Iberian Lynx
Iberian Lynx
One of Iberian Lynx's remaining strongholds is the Coto Donana National Park and efforts are being made by the Spanish National Nature Conservation Institute (ICONA) to preserve the species. Alarming decline in animal count has accelerated effort to create natural habitat corridors for the Iberian Lynx and the European Hare in these meadowlands, including reduction and removal of competing grazing animals, and a campaign of environmental awareness. Modernization of roads and highways has resulted in many vehicle fatalities with counts so significant they are deemed a severe threat to the species, much like the fate and resulting protection of the extremely rare, small Key Deer residing in the Florida Keys and the Florida Panther.
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Only a few years ago it was thought there were less than 500 Iberian Lynx left in the world today. Recent forecasts by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reports there are less than 150 Iberian Lynx remaining and only 30 breeding females remain of this species. What does the Iberian Lynx have in common with wine? Strange comparison as our Wild Cats are not known to be heavy "drinkers"! There has been a full blown boycott and plea with the wine industry to stop harvesting the cork oak forests. These old world forests are home to Iberian Lynx and conservationists want the industry to offer consumers an alternate "stopper" for their wine in order to preserve this habitat.

The cork forests are being stripped for wine bottle corks creating an alarming rate of destruction with over 15 billion corks taken annually. Sustainable forestry programs have been implemented and synthetic corks and screw top options may very well be the answer to prevent the Iberian Lynx from becoming extinct. It is however a Catch-22 situation, as it is the same interest that conservationists have activated for finding alternatives to prevent destruction of the cork forest has decreased demand. So much so, this has caused the farmers to fell the cork trees and turn to alternative crops which still leads to massive habitat destruction for the Iberian Lynx.

Remember, Otter John's words as he said in the first of our Educational Video Series - "Florida's Wild Future" - "Before you can save the animal you must FIRST save the Habitat". These are words of wisdom that ring true for saving all of our planet's Endangered Species.

Detailed specie and sub-specie information, including sizes, territory range and habits are included in our PowerCats Educational Curriculum under index heading of Lynx which includes some great Lynx Pictures.

Status: Iberian Lynx are listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List and placed on CITES Appendix I being given the highest priority in terms of protection and research.

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Scientific Name: Oncifelis geoffroyi
Common Name(s): Geoffroy's Cat
Range: South America - Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay
Average Weight: 3 - 8 kg (7 - 17 lbs)
Length: 70 - 110 cm (28 - 44")
Diet: Carnivorous. Small mammals, bird, lizards, rodents - mice, rats & guinea pigs, fish, frogs and insects
Gestation Period: 72 - 78 Days
Cub Maturity: 6 - 8 Months
Cubs Per Litter: 1 - 4 Kittens. (2-3 Kittens average per litter)
Lifespan: 12 - 18 years.
Predators: Man. Larger Carnivores occupying same territory, snakes and young to birds of prey.
Social Structure: Solitary.
Territory Size: 5 - 9.5 km (3 - 5.5 miles)
Conservation Status: Placed on CITES Appendix I in 1992.

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