Monthly Wild Cat News
A Voice For The Wild Cats of the World
by J Kerrison, Information taken from the IUCN RED LIST
Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered C2a(i) ver 3.1 Year Published: 2008
Justification: The Iberian Lynx occurs only in isolated pockets of southwestern Spain, and its continued survival in Portugal is uncertain. There are only two known breeding populations in Spain, and the latest survey results suggest a minimum of 84 and a maximum of 143 adults surviving in two breeding populations (in the Coto Doñana and near Andújar-Cardeña in the eastern Sierra Morena). The Doñana population numbers 24-33 adults and the Sierra Morena is the stronghold of the species with an estimated 60-110 adults. These populations are isolated from one another making them even more vulnerable. None of the remaining potential populations in East Montes de Toledo, West Sistema Central and some areas of central and western Sierra Morena is thought to include animals that breed regularly. Current numbers are not sufficient for the survival of the species in the long term and experts agree the cat is now on the brink of extinction (IUCN 2007).
With a total population of 84-143 adults, the Iberian Lynx qualifies as Critically Endangered under C2a(i). There has been a continuing decline due to severe depletion of its primary prey, the European rabbit, by disease and over-hunting, with additional threats of high rates of non-natural lynx mortality and habitat destruction and fragmentation. The effective population size of the largest subpopulation (Sierra Morena) is likely less than 50 mature breeding individuals, based on the general measure for felids (the proportion of the adult population contributing to the gene pool through successful raising and recruitment of offspring is 50%: Nowell et al. 2007).
Does this list bring the countdown from the old child’s song of One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians to mind? Not politically correct, but somehow appropriate, don’t you think?
Picture from ISEC website