The Iberian Lynx is a famous native Spanish species. This remarkable animal is listed on the World’s Most Endangered Big Cats List. Only a few are left in the wild today. According to estimates, there are only 160 left. While it was once widespread throughout Spain, Portugal, and parts Southern France, it is currently at the brink of extinction. This would make it the most endangered cat species since the sabretoothed leopard over 10,000 year ago. It was the first wild cat species ever to be included on the IUCN Red List.
Evidence shows that the Lynx, believed to have supernatural powers, was worshipped in Iberia by tribesmen who believed it linked to the underworld. Romans wore a picture of the lynx on the breastplates they wore to show their strength.
The number of Spanish tigers began to decrease around 2 centuries ago. They were approximately 10,000 by the beginning the 20th. Their decline can all be attributed primarily to changes in their habitat, road accidents, or accidental trappings. Myxomatosis also reduced their numbers, as did the spread hemorhagic pneumonia which destroyed their main food sources.
Donana Nature Park, Huelva is home to the main population of the lynx. The eastern Sierra Morena part, Jaen, houses the remaining lynx. Conservation programs are in place to conserve the few remaining lynxes, and hopefully increase numbers. The good news is that Donana nature park has found a mother and 2 kittens. This was the first time they had been discovered. Conservation efforts are clearly making a difference and numbers may continue to rise.