Showing posts with label Iberian lynx. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iberian lynx. Show all posts

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 Doñana. 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?

Friday 11 November 2022

For how long do Iberian lynx live?

The excellent book Wild Cats of the World states this about the Iberian lynx lifespan: "There is little information on the longevity of Iberian lynx, although one skull in the collection of the Estación Biológica de Doñana was estimated from counts of tooth annuli (annual rings, like those of a tree) to be 14 years old."

This Iberian lynx lives for 20 years, a record
This Iberian lynx lives for 20 years, a record it is believed.

The book was published in 2002. The stated 14 years of age as a likely and normal maximum lifespan and probably still holds true today. Wikipedia state the average age as 13 years.

Occasionally, and very exceptionally Iberian lynx lifespans can be as long as 20 years as is the case of Aura, who is in the news today as giving birth to more than 900 Iberian lynxes according to the reports. Longevity as you can imagine is greatly enhanced in captivity. The bobcat (part of the same genus as the lynx) also has a long lifespan and is one of the longest lives wild cat species.

Aura was born when there were 94 Iberian lynxes remaining on the planet and it was the most endangered wild cat species. That was when conservation of the Iberian lynx wasn't really seriously on the radar but since then a lot of work has been done to protect this rarest of wild cat species and their numbers have grown.

Each Iberian lynx cost €169,000 to create

Back in the day few Iberian Lynx died of natural causes. About three quarters of all lynx mortality was attributable to human-related activities such as trapping, snaring, poisoning, poaching, shooting and such other countryside activities.

There was even illegal trapping in the above-mentioned national park. Things have changed. Aura was described as a grumpy, strong-willed Iberian lynx. Another reason for the then dire endangerment of this species was a loss of rabbits, the main prey of the Iberian lynx to haemorrhagic disease.

She lived the last part of her life in captivity I guess in order to protect her which may account at least in part for her longevity.

Iberian lynx – comprehensive treatise focusing on conservation 2022

If you like to read more about the Iberian lynx, then please click on the above link which takes you to a full page on the species.

Thursday 15 December 2011

Is the bobcat a lynx?

Yes, the bobcat is part of the genus lynx. There are four cats that are part of this genus:
  1. Lynx lynx - Eurasian lynx
  2. Lynx canadensis - Canada lynx
  3. Lynx pardinus - Iberian lynx
  4. Lynx rufus - the bobcat
They all look like a lynx, which is helpful. It is the name that misleads as the three cats other than the bobcat have "lynx" in their name, whereas the bobcat does not.

The full classification for the bobcat is as follows: Kingdom: Animalia - Phylum: Chordata - Class: Mammalia - Order: Carnivora - Family: Felidae - Genus: Lynx - Species: L. rufus.

The group called "genus" is low in the taxonomic ranking. Classification of species is simply organising species in much the same way you organize files. The difference is that scientists use latin terminology, which is a throwback to the 1500s and before when scientists first classified the species.

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