Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus)

 

The Lynx Program's main objective is to ensure the long-term conservation and management of areas with suitable Mediterranean habitat for the Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus) in Portugal.

 

The League for the Protection of Nature, in partnership with the international organization Fauna & Flora International (FFI), launched in 2004 the Lynx Program, which relies on the participation and technical and scientific support of a group composed of the main specialists in this species in Portugal.

 

 

Iberian lynx; Photos by Carlos Nunes

 

 

"Iberian lynx"

The Iberian lynx is considered the most endangered cat in the world and the only one considered Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature - IUCN.

 

During the twentieth century the distribution of this species suffered a sharp decline that resulted in the reduction and disappearance of some of its populations, which became increasingly dispersed and distant. This decline was mainly due to two factors: the decline of its main prey, the rabbit, as a result of viral diseases (myxomatosis, haemorrhagic fever), abandonment of traditional agricultural practices and some inappropriate hunting practices; and the loss and deterioration of its habitat, the Mediterranean scrublands and woods, particularly due to their replacement by plantations of exotic and/or fast-growing forest species (e.g. eucalyptus, maritime pine), the construction of large infrastructures (e.g. dams, roads) and recurring forest fires. Other factors such as non-natural death (e.g. being run over by cars, poaching), diseases (e.g. bovine tuberculosis) and disturbance in breeding areas represent serious challenges to the current survival of the species.

 

This set of threats has led to the fact that, according to the most recent research, the total population of the Iberian lynx is currently reduced to around 200 adult individuals, with only two breeding populations currently known in Spain, both in Andalusia, in the regions of Sierra Morena Oriental and Doñana. In Portugal, although there are currently no known breeding populations of the species, there are sporadic records, some of them of animals from Spanish populations in search of new territories. This was the case of the last record, obtained in 2010 (9 years after the previous record) in the region of Moura / Barrancos, one of the intervention areas of the Lynx Program.

 

The Iberian lynx is an emblematic species, which has already been the target of campaigns to recognize the situation of the species in Portugal (e.g. LPN/ICN Campaign "Save the Lynx and the Serra da Malcata" - first awareness campaign on the Iberian lynx). It is the only large carnivorous mammal endemic to the Iberian Peninsula and the most endangered in Europe. Only urgent action can halt its extinction process and prevent the first disappearance of a feline in Europe in 2000 years.

 

In 2010, LPN and Lisboa Editora produced the video "The Iberian Lynx". This video about one of the world's most endangered felines aims to raise awareness among the general public and in particular schools about the particularities of the Iberian lynx, the risks it is subject to and the measures being taken for its recovery.

 

Part I

 

Part II

 

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