Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Birth of Iberian Lynx Kittens in the Wild Brings Hope for the Species

A mother Iberian lynx with kittens

Conservation groups have recently applauded the birth of two Iberian lynx kittens as a boost in an expensive project to save a species that many are afraid could be the first cat to perish for 2,000 years. The births are thought to be the first in the wild for years outside Andalusia, where the partially EU-financed project to save the Iberian lynx was established twelve years, after its numbers had plunged to fewer than 100 in the wild. It is now thought that there are approximately 300 lynxes, which is a major improvement on previous estimates, but still so few that the species remains threatened. The fact that one pair has now bred in the area of the Badajoz province in western Spain indicates that the lynx may now be restoring itself itself across a wider area. About two kittens were sighted last week by monitors who have been following the progress of a female lynx named Kodiak who was released into the wild two years ago. It is believed that Kodiak may have given birth to more kittens. A spokeswoman from Iberlince stated that female lynxes are known to have up to three kittens in a litter.
Queen Sofia of Spain attending the release of two Iberian lynxes into the wild
It is an amazing news that Spain has witnessed the birth of Iberian lynx kittens in the wild. This is especially significant when it comes to a critically endangered species that is still in small numbers putting it on the brink of extinction. Its threats vary from drought in southern Spain to the rabbit hemorrhagic disease, which has and continues to claim lives of European rabbits that make up the lynx's staple food diet. In addition, the lynx is also prone to automobile accidents which have claimed 46 lives since 2012. This occurs when the lynx is forced to search for food which takes it away from the safety of protected areas. This is why it is highly crucial to take crucial steps in ensuring the survival of the Iberian lynx on the long-run. In areas beyond national parks or nature reserves, it is necessary to construct underpasses and set up crossing signs to alert motorists about the presence of the lynx and other animals. This would minimize the chances of lynxes getting killed by cars. Furthermore, it is essential to thoroughly study the rabbit hemorrhagic disease in order to come up with a vaccine to eradicate it. The European rabbits are the lynx's favorite prey and if the disease persists, their numbers would plunge critically low and affect the survival of the lynxes and other carnivorous animals in the Iberian Peninsula.

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