A Rare World Cat Isn't as Rare Anymore

Iberian lynx upgraded from endangered to vulnerable
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2024 4:25 PM CDT
A Rare World Cat Isn't as Rare Anymore
Iberian lynx cubs in Donana National Park in Aznalcazar, Spain.   (AP Photo/Antonio Pizarro)

The Iberian lynx is off the dreaded "red list." Meaning, the wild cat of Europe is no longer classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, reports the BBC. Instead, it's now listed as "vulnerable." As the new designation suggests, the mid-sized cat is not yet out of danger, but its prospects have much improved from about 20 years ago, when wildlife researchers put the official count at 62. Today, it's a little over 2,000, per the Guardian. The vast majority of the cats are in Spain, with the rest in Portugal.

It's "the greatest recovery of a cat species ever achieved through conservation," said Francisco Javier Salcedo Ortiz of the LIFE Lynx-Connect project, per the AP. Authorities say the total count includes about 400 females, and they want that figure to be around 750 before they get too comfortable. The cat was hunted nearly to extinction during the 20th century in part because it was seen as vermin. One key part of its rebound goes hand in hand with another conservation success story, notes the AP: a big uptick in rabbits, a main part of the cats' diet. (More Iberian Lynx stories.)

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