African servals, exotic cats as pets

Spanish/Iberian Lynx
A Cat on the Verge of Extinction
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We are on the verge of the extinction of the first big cat species in the history of modern man.

The Spanish Lynx, Linces Iberico, is now listed as the worlds most endangered cat species and it is thought that population figures are down to just over 100.

There is little time left to save the Spanish Lynx but it is not beyond our reach.

You can help to make a difference with contributions to SOS Lynx, letters and e-mails to the Spanish government, local MPs, European MEPs anything to help the desperate plight of Spanish Lynx.

Perhaps before it is too late the story of the Spanish Lynx will be one of the greatest success’ not the greatest failures of the 21st century so far.

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Disappearing without a trace: The Plight of the Spanish Lynx.

We are on the verge of the extinction of the first big cat species in the history of modern man. The Spanish Lynx, Linces Iberico, is now listed as the worlds most endangered cat species and it is thought that population figures are down to just over 100. The Iberian Lynx once used to be found all over the Iberian peninsula and in some of Southern France. However the direct persecution and the indirect human expansion has seen the Lynx pushed to the brink of disappearing. A survey in 2002 found that the only breeding populations that remain are in the Cota Donana national park and the Andujar national park in northern Andalusia. There are also some scattered populations in south western Spain and Portugal. The Lynx was hunted up until 1970 when it became officially illegal, many farmers recognise the Lynx’s role as an eradicator of vermin but hunting still continues and traps for foxes remain a threat to the Lynx.

The decimation of the rabbit population by mixamitosis had a knock on effect for the Iberian Lynx and aided the steep decline. Man’s expansion into the Lynx’s territory has now become the biggest threat to the frail population. The building of new roads, dams and the expansion from the South Coast resorts are cutting into the last remaining Lynx habitats. A new motorway is planned to be built through prime Lynx habitat in Andujar, this would cut the 4 hour journey between Madrid and Cordoba by only 19 minutes and perhaps push the Andujar population past saving.

A recent report commissioned by Dr Caroline Lucas, a British Green Party MEP has highlighted the situation facing the Spanish Lynx now. The report set out the current situation and suggested plans for the future conservation of the Spanish Lynx. It also stated that the EU was contributing to the decline of the Lynx by allowing development and not safeguarding the Lynx’s last remaining strongholds. Dr Lucas said “There needs to be radical changes in the funding and control of water, transport, agriculture and forestry projects to save both the lynx and the EU's reputation.” The report called for: “conservation factors to be considered at both EU and national levels in assessing development projects.” It is the Spanish and European authorities who hold power over the Lynx’s future.

There is some hope for the future however. The captive breeding programme, set up in the Donana National Park will try to conserve the population and keep the Iberian Lynx alive. The huge success’ of this programmes has led to the birth of three Lynx cubs in 2001 and more recently three more were born in March 2005. The number in captivity now stands at 13 and these may hold the key to the Lynx’s future. The WWF is calling for the two remaining Lynx habitats to become linked by the Natura 2000 programme which offers the highest level of protection in Europe. This important corridor would need to be accessible for the Lynx to try and reunite the two isolated populations which is key to the future.

There is little time left to save the Spanish Lynx but it is not beyond our reach. The money and the power to save the Iberian Lynx exists it is just the need changing to change the pro-development attitude in Europe and Spain. You can help to make a difference with contributions to SOS Lynx, letters and e-mails to the Spanish government, local MPs, European MEPs anything to help the desperate plight of Spanish Lynx. Perhaps before it is too late the story of the Spanish Lynx will be one of the greatest success’ not the greatest failures of the 21st century so far.


Many thanks to Robin Perkins for allowing the use of this article on ExoticCatz.com. This article is copyrighted 2005 by Robin Perkins. All rights are reserved.




 

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© Jessi Clark-White, 2005
Spanish Lynx on the Verge of Extinction