The Habitat of an Iberian Lynx

By Naomi Millburn

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The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is a very rare golden-eyed cat that has a very notable and densely spotted grayish coat, lengthy back legs and a generally brawny physique. Along with the European mink, these moderately-sized felines are the only carnivorous creatures that live exclusively on the European continent.

Geography of the Iberian Lynx

The Iberian lynx lives nowhere outside of the Iberian Peninsula of southwestern Europe. These cats inhabit the southwestern region of Spain, and its population in Portugal is uncertain, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, an organization that labeled the species as being "critically endangered" in 2010. The total population of the Iberian lynx still remaining could be as small as between 84 and 143 fully mature specimens.

Natural Iberian Lynx Habitat

The sturdy cats generally inhabit open forest, maquis thicket, sand dune and woodland settings. They frequently take up residence in areas that have ample scrub vegetation, as well. The scrub serves as shelter for the solitary creatures. The Iberian lynx tends to stay away from agricultural sites, as well as from plantations for pine and eucalyptus trees.

European Rabbit

The habitat of the Iberian lynx has somewhat of an effect on its habitat, as the bulk of its diet consists of European rabbit meat. These cats do not tend to inhabit areas in which European rabbits are scant or nonexistent. For example, these rabbits usually do not reside in croplands, and Iberian lynxes do not, either. Although rabbits are a big part of the diet, these cats also eat a lot of geese, ducks, birds, and fallow and red deer.

Decreasing Habitat of the Iberian Lynx

Decreases in habitat are one of the reasons behind the species' critically endangered status. The abundance of livestock and growing human development are associated with the growing rarity of the species. The construction of railroads, roads, vacation residences and dams all have an effect on the natural habitat of the Iberian lynx. Habitat loss definitely isn't the only thing that regularly affects the population of the Iberian lynx, however. Other considerations include frequent road accidents and hunting. Iberian lynxes occasionally are hunted for their flesh and coats.

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