The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), the close relative to the Eurasian lynx, is a medium-sized wild cat that is native to the Iberian peninsula of Europe and was once found in abundance in the entire region before coming close to extinction. They are an endangered species due to human interference which has caused massive habitat loss for these wild cats. They have also been hunted to almost extinction.
Iberian lynx are under strict protection in Spain and Portugal and have been in the last decade, promoted from being Critically Endangered to Endangered as both these countries have seen a rise in the populations of these cats thanks to good conservation efforts and protection from predators as well as humans. They are being slowly reintroduced into the wild as their population rises with great care as they are bred in nature reserves and natural parks under suitable conditions. We can only hope that these amazing creatures will get back to their previous population and become parts of the ecosystem in the wild.
If you like these true facts about Iberian lynx, then you'll surely like these facts about lynx and Canada lynx too!
What do they prey on?
Rabbits, birds, other small animals
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
How much do they weigh?
22-33 lb (10-15 kg)
How long are they?
33.4-43.3 in (85-110 cm)
How tall are they?
23.6-27.5 in (60-70 cm)
What do they look like?
Tawny, bright yellowish-red
What are their main threats?
Illegal hunting, habitat loss
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
Savanna, grasslands, forests, mountains
Iberian Lynx Interesting Facts
What type of animal is an Iberian lynx?
The Iberian lynx is one of the two big cat species that are endemic to Europe and are found in and European regions in and around Spain and Portugal in fragmented populations in the wildlife habitat as they have been listed as an Endangered species by the IUCN Red List. Other species of the Lynx are the Eurasian Lynx, Canadian Lynx, and the Bobcat.
What class of animal does an Iberian lynx belong to?
The Iberian Lynx belongs to the mammal class of animals.
Mammals are vertebrates that have special mammary glands in the female to nourish their young ones with milk. Mammals are distinguished by other unique features like the presence of fur or hair, three ear bones, a neocortex (region of the brain), a lower jaw that is hinged to the skull directly.
How many Iberian lynxes are there in the world?
The Iberian Lynx, once thought to be extinct, have suffered great loss in their natural habitat due to human interference due to which they have been included in the captive breeding program under the Portuguese and Spanish government all across their natural habitat of Spain and Portugal. Their population has now grown to 1000 on the Iberian peninsula with around 154 Iberian Lynxes currently living in the Portuguese Guadiana Valley.
Where does an Iberian lynx live?
Iberian lynxes are found in the Iberian peninsula's mountainous region which is associated with the Spanish and Portuguese regions. They live in areas that have a high density of European rabbit populations as the European rabbit is their staple diet.
What is an Iberian lynx's habitat?
The Iberian Lynx live below 1300 m altitude and these cats are often found in grasslands, savannas, and forests. Their breeding grounds have an optimal balance of open space with covers for them to move around and protect their offsprings.
However, due to threats like illegal hunting and habitat loss, most of the Iberian lynx in their natural wildlife have disappeared and are raised under conservation programs in the national park of Spain or Portugal before being released into the wild in an effort to increase their population.
Who do Iberian lynxes live with?
Iberian lynxes are solitary animals and mark their territory with urine, and claw marks on the local plants and trees. These former critically endangered lynx species come together only during breeding or mating season as adult lynx search for mates outside of their own habitat or territory to avoid inbreeding.
How long does an Iberian lynx live?
Iberian lynxes have a range of lifespans of about 13 years in their wildlife habitats. The lifespan range of these cats in captivity is unclear due to no satisfactory data that can aptly specify it.
How do they reproduce?
Both the male and female of the Iberian lynxes reach sexual maturity when they are one year old. Territories of breeding males will overlap with those of the females and males will often defend their territory against rivals and breed with the females who can be found in the overlapping territories. Aggressive interaction between the males in the high-density population led to more death compared to those in the low-density population.
Males and females will come together during the breeding period which usually lasts from January to July with a gestation period of 63-73 days, with most births occurring in March and April, ending with the birth of two to three kittens. In case a female cannot find a mate, she will wait it out as Iberian lynx females can give birth all year round.
Since their kittens are weak and small, females will search for compact spaces like tree hollows and dens of European rabbits or badgers and give birth in these tight areas so as to keep their kittens together, preventing them from wandering off and becoming prey to larger animals.
What is their conservation status?
As of now, the IUCN Red List has listed the Iberian Lynx as a species of Least Concern.
Iberian lynxes are considered to be one of the most endangered cat species in the world with as little as 250 breeding individuals living in the wild in 1996. They have gone through a drastic decline in population due to diseases that caused the population decline caused in European rabbits. Human interference like illegal hunting for their fur, and deforestation have caused them to leave their habitats and venture to pastures new which, sadly, have not gone their way.
They were once listed as Critically Endangered and were inching closer to extinction until the governments of Portugal and Spain took action and decided to put them under strict conservation efforts. With protection from humans in various national park habitats and protected breeding, their numbers rose and they were removed from the Critically Endangered list to the Endangered list. They are often released in the wild and are given the opportunity to choose their own habitat range and thrive under natural conditions and increase their population.
Iberian Lynx Fun Facts
What do Iberian lynxes look like?
Iberian lynxes are similar to the Eurasian lynx, a close relative, but they are half the size of the Eurasian lynx. Iberian lynxes have a relatively small head with long legs and a short tail. Their coat of fur is tawny or bright yellowish red with dark spots all over the body with a white underbelly. The lynx species, much like other larger cats like the Bobcat and Caracal have ear tufts that are used to filter sound directly into the ears of these cats.
Since these species show signs of sexual dimorphism, adult males and larger than adult females.
How cute are they?
Iberian lynxes are cute to the core just like most cats are and on a scale of 1-10, they get a solid 9! Kittens get a 10 out of 10 as they are a bundle of joy with their curious and playful nature!
How do they communicate?
Like most cats, Iberian lynxes have excellent vision which helps them hunt at night as they are nocturnal. The whiskers on their face help them in getting haptic feedback in the wild which is accompanied by their excellent hearing. They emit loud distress calls when they feel threatened and communicate through audio, visual, and tactile communication methods.
How big is an Iberian lynx?
Adult Iberian lynx reach a body length of 33.4-43.3 in (85-110 cm) and stand at a 23.6-27.5 in (60-70 cm) shoulder height. Since this animal is sexually dimorphic, the males are larger than females.
How fast can an Iberian lynx run?
Unfortunately, no accurate date can be provided to state how fast the Iberian lynx can run.
How much does an Iberian lynx weigh?
Iberian lynx are smaller than their Eurasian counterparts and only weigh around 22-33 lb (10-15 kg).
What are their male and female names of the species?
No specific name has been assigned to either sex of the Iberian lynx species.
What would you call a baby Iberian lynx?
A baby Iberian lynx is called a kitten.
Kittens are helpless when they are born and are looked after by the female until they are grown up enough to discover their habitats or hunt rabbits by themselves. Since the kittens are curious, they often end up leaving the den and becoming prey to other larger animals. To avoid this, females give birth in narrow spaces so that the kittens stay together in a tightly-knit group and do not wander off by themselves.
What do they eat?
Iberian lynxes have a diet that is mainly made up of wild rabbits, an adult needs to have at least one rabbit a day, whereas a mother raising kittens, needs three in the diet of herself and her kittens.
When the rabbit density is low in the habitat, they will also prey on ducks, deer calf, and other smaller prey like rodents.
Are they dangerous?
These cats mostly prey on rabbits and other smaller animals and despite being the size of a dog, lynxes do not pose a threat to humans in the wild.
Would they make a good pet?
No! You cannot keep Iberian lynx as pets as this species of lynxes are an endangered species and are under strict protection laws. Keeping an Iberian lynx as a pet will get you in trouble! However, unlike the Iberian lynx, the Canadian lynx can be kept as a pet as they are a species of Least Concern.
Did you know...
In 2015, the Iberian lynx was reclassified from the Critically Endangered list to the Endangered list thanks to their growing population in protected environments.
The Iberian lynx was thought to be a subspecies of the European/Eurasian lynx until it was recognized as its own distinct species in the late 19th century!
Due to a mass population decline that saw an 80% decline in the last 20 years, the Iberian lynx is one of the most endangered species on the planet.
The Sierra Morena nature reserve in southern Spain was the place where the first Lynx was born in captivity and she was named Saliega.
The Iberian lynx is also known as the Spanish lynx in Spain.
The Iberian lynx can survive in cold weather thanks to their thick coat of fur. The long legs of the Iberian lynx are covered with fur which helps this cat to move silently in the snow when hunting.
Why is the Iberian lynx important?
The importance of the Iberian lynx is seen as a positive one on the ecosystem as without them, the Iberian peninsula was overrun with European rabbits. The presence of this wild cat is also an indicator of the prey fitness as they happen to keep a balance in the ecosystem by keeping the population of smaller animals in check and in turn protect the habitat from being overrun by herbivores like rabbits.
When did Lynx go extinct in Scotland?
The Scottish version of the lynx population slowly died around approximately 1000-1500 years ago due to overhunting and habitat loss. However, there are plans to reintroduce these species in the wild habitats of Scotland. With proper care and an abundance of prey, this cat can hopefully thrive once again in Scotland.
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