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The Last Lynx


Vladimir is a former champion ratter (retired). His hobbies are bushwalking, birdwatching and nature studies

Iberian Lynx

The Story of a Struggling Species

Humans have a deadly knack of deleting an entire species.

Gone are the days when it took an immense natural event, such as an asteroid crashing down from the skies to send an entire population into the annals of extinction, now it's hunting, fishing, farming, pollution and climate-change induced disasters that spell out death.

Not to forget that peculiarly human pastime of War.

There are many sad stories of animals in critical danger, this is just one of them.

The Lynx is overlooked

Tigers are often in the news, scientific articles on their endangered status and appeals by celebrities to help save a tiger make frequent appearances in media. You scarcely see a mention of a lynx.

The lynx is the world's most threatened species of cat, and the most threatened carnivore in Europe. Not the happiest of accolades.

Once the Iberian Lynx roamed across the entire Iberian Peninsula but now he is found only in two small areas of Spain.

The Handsome Lynx

The critically endangered lynx

The critically endangered lynx

The Lynx and I

The lynx and I share a number of things in common. We share an ancestor, the noble African Wild Cat and, at a pinch, we could change places. Put more simply, we're both cats to start with.

Take a look at that lynx. He's a handsome cat, and his photo clearly shows his striking looks and the four sets of whiskers - two groups on the ears and two on the chin, just like me.

The facial fur is particularly striking - almost like a beard.

My life, however, is a pampered one, while he is literally on his last legs.

We like the same food but I don't have to hunt for mine, it's delivered to me at set times each day. The main source of food for the lynx are Spanish wild rabbits and these animals, ironically, are also facing extinction.

Just over one hundred viable Iberian Lynx adults remain in the wild

Competition for Food is Fierce

The Iberian Lynx already faces problems from a decline in prey as Myxomatosis rapidly kills off the wild rabbits.

The lynx now competes for prey with the meloncillo (a mongoose), the red fox and the wildcat.

The lynx is hunted too – he’s often seen as a pest and there are always people who just can’t resist fur boots! The worst danger, however, is urban development.

This could be the last lynx you'll ever see

Not since the Sabertooth

The Iberian Lynx, the most endangered of the world’s 36 cats, stands on the edge of extinction.

The latest studies, based on DNA analysis, make depressing reading.

Despite decades of protection, millions of pesetas and euros, hundreds of studies, and the work of some of Europe’s best conservationists and zoologists, just over one hundred viable lynx adults remain in the wild

Whoever and whatever is to blame, the lynx’s imminent disappearance will be the first extinction of a world feline, discounting sub-species of tigers and lions, since the saber-toothed tiger some 10,000 years ago.

Lynx Territory is small to begin with

Take a last look at the lynx

The Lynx is a Flagship Species

The lynx is an example of a classic ‘flagship species’.

This means that, by protecting the lynx habitat, other species which rely on the same habitat are also protected.

Black vultures (as well as rabbits) share the habitat and they're also threatened.

What do you say?

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Why should anyone care about species that are being lost on the planet?

It's not just compassion for these creatures, like the Iberian lynx, that make it imperative to fight extinction, their loss is more than tragic it will be dangerous to the ecosystem.

All creatures are part of an ecosystem. All animals thrive on each other, whether they are predator or prey. The next extinction can be the one to tip the scales - to ruin biodiversity.

© 2014 Vladimir


Işın Tuzcular from Istanbul on November 17, 2014:

A beautiful creature. Pitty they are getting less and less.

Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on November 17, 2014:

This is another one in the long list of animals suffering due to human ignorance. We need to learn to keep the animals and vegetation intact until we know their true purpose. Instead we alter the World to feed the greed of the large corporations and their bosses.

The public at large must share some of the blame as we fall mindlessly to their advertising.

Lorelei Cohen on November 17, 2014:

It is very sad to see how our environmental standards and attitude toward other species is constantly undermined by an uncaring attitude and greed. We must change. Governments worldwide must change.

Melody Lassalle from California on November 16, 2014:

They are such beautiful animals. I did not realize that they are endangered. How sad.

It seems we have a similar situation with mountain lions in California. Every week it seems there are sightings in some suburb. It is scary to have a mountain lion in your front yard, but the problem is humans are moving further into their front yards. We almost seemed to be surprise when we take over their habitat then they show up in our cities.

I do know that campaigns can work. The California condor is making a comeback after teetering on extinction for decades due to DDT exposure. Thanks to human intervention of the right kind they have been successfully bred and released back into the wild. Let's hope something similar happens for the lynx.

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on August 27, 2014:

Wow and excellent. It so angers me how badly we treat the other creatures who inhabit this planet with us that it brings me to tears. If words can affect any one to make a change all I can say is please keep writing, keep shouting, and maybe one day it will change.

Vladimir (author) from Australia on August 25, 2014:

People tend to overlook the smaller cats (don't I know it!)

mumsgather on August 25, 2014:

What a handsome looking creature the lynx is. Articles like this are really good in spreading the word to protect the endangered.

Lynne Schroeder from Blue Mountains Australia on August 25, 2014:

He really is a handsome creature. What a terrible crime it would be if we were to lose him