WWF-UK

Saving the Iberian Lynx from extinction

Of all the Big Cats, the Iberian Lynx is closest to extinction with only about 100 animals left in the wild. hence, urgent action is needed. WWF is working in the south of Spain to restore the Iberian Lynx’s habitat and increase population numbers of this critically endangered wild cat. Your support will help WWF to eliminate damaging policies and developments that threaten Europe’s critically endangered wild cat.

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  • AnimalsAnimals
  • Environment/ConservationEnvironment/Conservation

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Between 1960 and 1990, the Iberian Lynx suffered an estimated 80% loss of its habitat and its population size startlingly declined to less than 100 individuals left in the wild. As a result, the Iberian Lynx is one of the most endangered wild cats in the world and is classified as ‘critically endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. One of the biggest threats to the Iberian Lynx is starvation due to a shortage of its main food source, the rabbit. Epidemics and disease have cut rabbit populations dramatically, which has in turn affected the number of Iberian Lynx. The destruction of its habitat puts the Iberian Lynx at further risk. Loss and fragmentation of habitat from infrastructure development such as roads, dams and railways creates barriers between the remaining isolated populations, and are both a short term threat because of road collisions and a long term problem as they can further fragment populations. WWF is supporting work in Spain aimed at stabilising and increasing the remaining populations of Iberian Lynx. Key habitats must be protected, connected and well-managed in order for the Iberian Lynx population to firstly stabilise and then expand. In addition, WWF is working to increase rabbit populations, which are fundamental to the survival of the Iberian Lynx. Both Iberian Lynx and rabbit populations are being continually monitored. WWF-UK has committed to raise £75,000 to this ambitious and important programme this year. Your support will help WWF to eliminate damaging policies and developments that threaten Europe’s critically endangered wild cat. In order to achieve our objectives, WWF is encouraging a number of activities including: • Monitoring Iberian Lynx populations in coordination with other organisations. Recently, a captive breeding programme has been implemented, which provides a vital gene bank in the hope of restoring the population and recolonising areas where the populations have collapsed • Establishing buffer zones and land links between the core areas of Iberian Lynx, which have been designated as areas of European importance. This includes facilitating the development of guidelines for enabling lynx migration, which will achieve agreement on location of core and corridor areas, and be used to influence key development projects • Addressing infrastructure development to ensure that it does not jeopardise the recovery of the lynx by lobbying for appropriate funding schemes and against damaging infrastructure projects • The continuation of the conservation plan for the recovery of rabbit populations. This includes reducing hunting pressure by developing a management model and business plan for the sustainable exploitation of hunting estates, and increasing rabbit populations in private estates in Sierra de Andujar and Doñana, through agreements with key private estates

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