|An Iberian lynx killed by an oncoming car|
The Iberian lynx population in Andalusia has significantly increased in the past three years, but environmentalists have warned that the number of the animals killed by cars has risen by an even greater rate over the same period. Getting struck by an oncoming vehicle continues to be the biggest threat to these critically endangered cats whose prime habitats are Donana National Park and Sierra Morena mountains. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) indicated that out of the 27 lynxes that perished last year in Andalusia, 21 were killed by motorists. This number has raised the alarm in the Andalusian regional government, which is escalating work on an action plan to prevent any further deaths by vehicular accidents. The Andalusian administration and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport have agreed on crucial measurements which include setting up more traffic signs warning motorists of the animals' presence and lowering the speed limit in areas where the highest rates of road deaths have been documented. In addition, authorities will also deploy teams to analyze the state of roadside fencing, clean up riverbeds to aid wildlife crossing, and eliminate barriers of bushes to enhance visibility. Although the action plan is national to the extent, the primary focus will be on Andalusia where majority of the lynxes live. Last September, the government of Andalusia allocated 1 million euros for improvements in Iberian lynx safety as part of the Life Lince project. More currently, Andalusia and Madrid considered the prospect of applying for a new European Union Life Project to establish a natural corridor connecting the northern part of Donana with Sierra Morena. The project would have a supposed cost of 4.25 million euros.
|A young Iberian lynx and a European rabbit. In addition to vehicular accidents, rabbit hemorrhagic disease is affecting the rabbit population which the lynx rely on as a staple source of food.|
It is very fantastic that the government of Andalusia is taking crucial action to save lives of the Iberian lynx from the threat of vehicular accidents. The last strongholds of these rare and magnificent cats are in the areas of Donana National Park and Sierra Morena mountains. Unfortunately, these places are dissected by a network of roads and highways that put the lynxes' lives in jeopardy making them prone to death by vehicular accidents. In addition, these cats are also threatened by a new outbreak of rabbit hemorrhagic disease which is also affecting the European rabbit population in Spain. The rabbits are a major source of food for the lynx and other carnivorous creatures it shares its habitat with. If the rabbit population is completely depleted, it would eventually lead to a downfall in the Iberian lynx population along with other carnivores. This is why it is extremely crucial to take necessary action to prevent any further impact on the Iberian lynx population from not just vehicular accidents, but also the rabbit hemorrhagic disease. The population of this lynx has increased from 92 individuals in 2002 to 332 individuals in 2014 and it is important to ensure its survival by preventing any threat from hindering its population growth.
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