Good news for the Iberian lynx!
WWF welcomes the 2015 Iberian lynx census released today by the government of Andalusia. The survey shows a significant increase in population with the Iberian lynx reaching the highest number since the species was found to be the most endangered cat in the world in 2002.
The latest population figure of 404 individuals is up from the 327 recorded in 2014. The survey identified 120 breeding females divided into five areas of the Iberian Peninsula including four in Spain – Doñana, Sierra Morena, Montes de Toledo, Valley Matachel – as well as Portugal’s Vale do Guadiana.
“WWF welcomes the heartening results of the 2015 Iberian Lynx census,” said Luis Suarez, head of WWF-Spain’s species programme. “This is a historic landmark that comes with the heavy responsibility of strengthening our commitment and conservation actions to protect this most endangered species.”
Despite the rebound in population, the Iberian lynx is still threatened by losses in the population of rabbits, their main prey. The research project indicates that rabbit populations have fallen more than 50 per cent in areas critical to the lynx due to a new strain of viral haemorrhagic disease.
“It is essential that all competent authorities take action on the threats to rabbits and begin to implement better monitoring plans and actions for species recovery,” said Luis Suarez. “Otherwise, we will see a real ecological catastrophe given the key role of the rabbit in Mediterranean ecosystems.”
Iberian lynx image © IberianLynx exsitu conservation programme.
Read more at WWF.