The Iberian, or Spanish, Lynx is currently the most endangered wild cat in the world. They look like a smaller version of the Eurasian lynx, yet closer in size to the Canadian Lynx, and have similar diets as well, since they rely on rabbits for a large part of their diet. Their ecology is very different from the Eurasian lynx though. The Eurasian lynx is a forest animal which preys on ungulates, the Iberian lynx is found in scrub vegetation and preys almost exclusively on European rabbits.
Spanish Lynx have a coat color of yellowish to reddish-brown, patterned with many dark spots, and white underpants. They have the typical look of the lynx species, with a flared facial ruff, long, dark ear tufts, and a very short, dark tipped tail.
of den sites have been found at the base of an old, hollow cork
oak tree, indicating how important these trees are to the
female. The peak birthing season is March and April in central
and southern Spain. Kittens stay in the natal den for the first
20 days, after which they are moved to as many as three or four
other dens, giving them more room as they grow, and to help
protect them against being discovered by predators. It may also
help avoid parasite build up in any single den. Kittens are
eating solid food by 28 days but will nurse for 3-4 months.
prefer areas of native Mediterranean woodlands and thick,
shrubby areas, especially for resting during the day. They move
along the edges of meadows and more open grassland areas around
dusk and dawn to hunt. Only when the rabbit population crashes
due to viral outbreaks, do they look to other prey such as small
rodents, birds, and the young of wild boar, red deer, fallow
deer, chamois and moufflon sheep.
government is in the process of developing a national
conservation strategy for the Iberian lynx, with the goal of
enabling the lynx to occupy as large a range as possible on a
permanent basis. Management measures will be applied first to
the largest population nuclei (the eastern Sierra Morena, the
Toledo Mountains, the corridors between these two zones, and
certain parts of Extremadura). Measures include completion of
detailed surveys of the conditions faced by each lynx
sub-population (land use, land ownership, habitat condition,
rabbit density); banning rabbit trapping; taking active steps to
increase rabbit populations (such as brush clearance); and
establishment of a captive breeding program (now underway).