Iberian lynx

Lynx (Felis) pardinus

SUBFAMILY

Felinae

TAXONOMY

Felis pardina (Temminck, 1827), Portugal. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Pardel lynx; French: Lynx d'Espagne; German: Pardelluchs; Spanish: Lince Iberico.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Length 25-39 in (65-100 cm); tail 2-8 in (5-19 cm); weight 11-28 lb (5-13 kg). Light brown coat marked with black spots on body, tail and limbs.

DISTRIBUTION

Spain and Portugal.

HABITAT

Woodland and scrub with areas of open pasture. BEHAVIOR

Primarily nocturnal, activity peak at dusk. Active in daytime more in winter. Male home range averages 7 mi2 (18 km2), female 4 mi2 (10 km2) in Coto Donana National Park. No overlap between ranges of same sex animals, but male's range encompasses females' ranges.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Mainly rabbits, some birds, and deer.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Polygamous. Gestation 60 days, litter two to three. Births peak in March-April. Kittens independent at 7-10 months, but may remain in natal territory until two years. Females may breed at one year, but only if territory has been acquired.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Critically Endangered. Population estimated at 1,200 adults and subadults, with only 200 breeding females. Populations small, isolated and majority considered unviable. Illegally trapped and shot, habitat lost to cultivation, and rabbit prey decimated by myxomatosis.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Persecuted for skin and meat for thousands of years. Spanish government placed bounty on species in early twentieth century. Now protected but illegally killed as livestock predator. ♦

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