The Iberian Lynx is the most endangered big cat species in the world, and lives only in Spain and Portugal, where it has declined drastically in numbers and range over the last 100 years. At the beginning of the 20th century, it is estimated there were approximately 100,000 Iberian Lynx throughout the Iberian Peninsula. Now there are just two small and isolated populations with confirmed breeding, both in Andalusia, in southern Spain.
Without immediate action this Iberian mammal , already nearly extinct in Portugal,could disappear from the Iberian peninsula within two years!
The Iberian lynx has been hunted to the verge of extinction for its prized fur and its meat, and although some landowners appreciate its tendency to keep fox and rabbit numbers down, most perceive it as a threat to their game populations. Despite legal protection from hunting introduced in the early 1970s, the Lynx population is still the victims of guns, traps and snares, particularly those set for other animals.
Further damage to the habitat from road building projects and a dam development are impacting the population and road collisions are one of the biggest threats to the lynx.
It is not too late. By supporting long term lynx and rabbit recovery, promoting nature conservation on private land, enforcing and improving existing legislation on hunting, and avoiding projects and policies that are incompatible with lynx, the EU and national and regional governments in Iberia can avoid the collective embarrassment and shame that the extinction of the Iberian Lynx would bring.
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