Friday 11 August 2023

Is the Iberian lynx further endangered by the devastating Algarve wildfires of 2023?

Iberian lynx in the wild. Highly endangered. Image: Pinterest.

No one has mentioned this but it seems to me that the highly endangered Iberian lynx - perhaps the world's most endangered cat species - is now under further threat to its survival in the wild: the massive wildfires in the Algarve region of Portugal which is exactly were the Iberian lynx lives!

RELATED: Climate change and illegal water extraction add to threats against Iberian lynx

Even without the fires, the temperatures have been so high in the Algarve and other parts of Portugal and Spain that they present a threat alone it would seem to me. What about water courses drying up and the lynx failing to get enough water or its prey animals such as hares and rabbits dying because of the temperatures and drought? The temperatures have been hitting the mid-to-high 40 degrees Celsius in parts.

RELATED: Iberian lynx – comprehensive treatise focusing on conservation 2022

I have two maps: one of the area of distribution of the Iberian lynx and one of the area of extreme temperature and danger to wildfires as published on The lynx distribution map is by me.

The Iberian lynx distribution

Marked Area What It Means
Green Line This encloses the wider area that contains fragmented habitat where this wild cat is believed to be extinct. You can zoom back to see the big picture
Red Line This contains the wider area around the Parque Nacional de DoƱana. The park is a place where the Iberian lynx is known to be found and the wider area where they are also found.
Blue Areas (2) These are the areas where this wild cat is known to live. The population in the park is estimated at 24-33 and in the eastern Sierra Morena (the “stronghold”) 60-110 (2009). Please note that the effective population size (breeding adults) is much less at about 50 in the Sierra Morena.

Where the wildfires are

As you can see the distribution of the Iberian lynx very much overlaps with the fire zone. And the high temperatures are much wider.

Surely this of concern to the wildlife conservationists?

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