Name: Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus)
Status – Critically Endangered (CR)
Length – up to 100 cm
Height – up to 50 cm
Weight – up to 15 kg
The world’s most threatened species of cat, this elegant looking lynx is a very specialised predator with rabbits accounting for 80-100% of its diet!
Where am I found?
This magnificent cat once used to roam through Spain, Portugal and the south of France. The Iberian lynx can now only be found in a few areas in Spain where it prefers to live and hunt in Mediterranean woodland and scrub-like habitat.
What do I eat?
The preferred prey of the Iberian lynx is the rabbit, which forms 80 to 100% of its diet. It will occasionally take rodents, hares, partridges, ducks, geese and small deer, but these do not form an important part of the diet.
How do I live?
A nocturnal species, the secretive Iberian lynx is generally active at night, emerging from its daytime shelter at twilight. Both the male and the female Iberian lynx are territorial, with male territories overlapping those of several females. The mating season peaks in January and February, and the female gives birth to between one and four kittens around two months later. The young are cared for by the female in a lair, which may be located under a thicket or in a hollow tree. Weaning occurs at around eight months old but the juveniles stay in their natal territory until they are around 20 months old.
Why am I threatened?
There are now thought to be less than 200 Iberian lynx left in the wild, with habitat loss being one of the main threats to this species. Much of its habitat has been converted for agriculture and development, such as dams and highways. The Iberian lynx’s main prey, the rabbit, has also dramatically decreased in number due to hunting and the introduction of disease such as myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease. Illegal hunting is also a problem, with some lynx being accidentally caught in rabbit traps.
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