Iberian Lynx is an endemic cat species that is found in Iberian Peninsula, Europe. The species is fast dwindling and is now in an endangered species on IUCN Red List. The species were overhunted and poached in the 20th century, you may be wondering how many Iberian lynx are left in the world? the numbers are low as 100 and they were on the verge of extinction.
Classification of Iberian Lynx
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Felidae
- Genus: Felinae
- Species: Pardina
Iberian Lynx is one of the four species of Lynx which are medium-sized wild cats. The other four species of Lynx family include Canada Lynx, Eurasian Lynx, and Bobcat. The Iberian Lynx is spread across southern Spain and eastern Portugal regions in Europe. The Iberian Lynx is identified by its spotted fur, the fur is short, bright and yellowish in color with spots. These spots may vary from size and are arranged in line with a decreasing size near to the back. The head of a Lynx is small and they have tufted ears. The body is short with long legs and they have a short tail.
The males are larger in size and length than the females in Iberian Lynx. They were once spread across most parts of Iberian Peninsula and southern France, and also history stated that the species had extended sub-species that were spread across Northern Portugal, Southern Spain, Mediterranean regions, however, the species declined substantially wherein the 20th Century they were overhunted and over 80% of species went extinct.
The Iberian Lynx is mostly found in scrub vegetation, Mediterranean woodland, and maquis thicket and are believed to be solitary animals. They typically feed on rabbits which are their main prey, however, when in winter they hunt red deer, fallow deer, ducks, etc. They are mostly nocturnal species that hunt for prey at night.
The Iberian Lynx is said to have a lifespan of 13 years, they have a gestation period of 60 days where the females produce around 2-3 litters. The kittens stay with their mothers for around 20 months and then they become independent. They mark their territory with urine, scratch marks and scat. It is said that they have pretty good home ranges where females hold a home range of around 6kmsq and the males up to 12kmsq.
The characteristic of Iberian Lynx is that they produce the Kittens once their home base is secured.
The primary threat to these species includes human activities that have caused habitat destruction, they have also been trapped in human traps and snares which have kept for rabbits, road accidents, etc. Another main reason for the decline in numbers is the non-availability of its primary prey due to various diseases that had affected rabbits which caused the Iberian Lynx number to decline in recent times.
Many governments are making an effort to conserve and rehabilitate the lynx population saving it from going extinct. We might soon see growth in the lynx population, thanks to the effects of conservation.