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The Iberian Lynx Comeback

Cute Animals

Cats. We all like cats. We know about tigers and lions and jaguars and leopards. The lynx? It’s a bit more elusive. Yet seen once, and the lynx is not easily forgotten.

“If only our ears

Shouted ‘majesty’ like yours

We’d chase rabbit, too”

Haiku for the Iberian Lynx

It’s the ears. They’re simply triumphant, almost royal in scope, tufting skyward in pure pomp. More so for the Iberian lynx. Double goatee-tails droop from their jaws, competing an X-like mark out of their princely face. Cute, right?

Anyway, we’re calling the Iberian lynx our cute animal of the month (last month’s was a less cute turtle), not just for its glorious hair concept, but as a reward for the lynx existence.

In recent decades the number of Iberian Lynx, native to Spain and Portugal, has declined to the point of extinction. Rabbits are the lynx’s preferred diet (they really won’t eat much else): an adult eats one rabbit a day, a mother raising her young needs to catch three. Unfortunately rabbits have been dying off lately, felled by a rare disease that’s hit rabbit populations in Spain and Portugal especially hard.

So the European Union funded a multi-million dollar project to raise and reintroduce the lynx (and many rabbits). The EU has also planted thousands of cork trees, which are the base of the food chain in forests where lynx live and hunt. The Iberian lynx is still the world’s most endangered feline species. However, their numbers are growing. In 2002 there were fewer than 100 lynx in the wild; today there are more than 500.

Lynx of Iberia, we’ll look for you when we travel to Portugal in 2019 with Camille Becerra. Meanwhile let us tell you a love haiku.