There’s endangered as in “let’s put this species on the list” and then there’s endangered as in “we could only get fourteen into vehicles before the wildfire smoke got too thick; we had to leave the other thirteen behind.”
The Iberian lynx is in that second group.
- Good news: There are more than twenty-seven lynx on the Iberian peninsula – this particular emergency happened on June 25th at a single breeding center. One cat died of stress, but the others, including the thirteen that couldn’t be evacuated, survived. (Lyne)
- Bad news: In 2016, camera traps counted a total of only 483 wild Iberian lynx. And that June wildfire destroyed part of one of their remaining two wild habitats. (Lyne; Martín-Arroyo)
The other major members of this adorably bearded, ear-tufted, and furry-footed group of middle-sized cats – bobcats, the Canada lynx, and the Eurasian lynx – are doing all right.
Why the problem in Iberia?
This is one of the lynx species that specializes in rabbits. Unfortunately, the bunnies in its region are especially vulnerable to some diseases, so finding prey has been a problem. (Rodríguez and Calzada)
Iberian lynxes are also very well attuned to their habitat, which people are disrupting as the population grows. Other human influences including poaching and the spread of roads. (Martín-Arroyo; Rodríguez and Calzada)
Their future is still uncertain, but if not for the ongoing conservation programs, Iberian lynx would go extinct in less than fifty years. (Rodríguez and Calzada)
Featured image: Iberian Lynx Ex-situ Programme. http://lynxexsitu.es/album.php?sec=fotos&id=26 CC BY 3.0 ES
Iberlince website (English version). http://www.iberlince.eu/index.php/eng/sitemap . Accessed multiple pages August 14, 2017.
Lyne, N. 2017. “After a month in the wild, tired and thin, Fran the lynx makes it home.” El País in English. https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/07/25/inenglish/1500982478_184023.amp.html Accessed August 14, 2017.
Martín-Arroyo, J. 2017. “La población de linces supera los 500 ejemplares pese a los atropellos.” El País. https://politica.elpais.com/politica/2017/08/04/actualidad/1501858925_047732.html Accessed August 14, 2017, translated into English by online machine.
Planelles, M. 2017. “El incendio de Doñana golpea a uno de los núcleos de población del lince.” El País. https://politica.elpais.com/politica/2017/06/27/actualidad/1498553055_680421.html Accessed August 14, 2017, translated into English by online machine.
Rodríguez, A., and Calzada, J. 2015. Lynx pardinus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T12520A50655794. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/12520/0 Downloaded on August 14, 2017.