Iberian Lynx: Good or Bad News?

Attempt to save iberian lynx from extinction

Attempt to save iberian lynx from extinction

I suppose this is good news but it is based on bad news. The Iberian lynx lives in the south western half of Spain in fragmented habitat and in the east of Portugal. This cat’s last refuge is the Parque Nacional de Doñana in Spain:

This wild cat species of the lynx family of cats – the others are the Canada lynx, Eurasian lynx and bobcat – is critically endangered because of human activity: hunted, trapped, prey is hunted (rabbits) and its habitat is broken up. Frankly, this is the usual stuff.

Iberian lynx in the wild

At the 11th hour, the Spanish are doing something to save this cat from extinction. The idea seems to be to “ensure the highest number of cubs are born”. This is to be achieved by extracting embryos from the cat which are to be implanted in other females and combined with frozen sperm. Sounds complicated and fraught with difficulty. You wonder if it will make things worse. Also it appears that captive cats are being used. I am not sure though. Captive wild cats are often inbreed.

The sad part about this is that it should have never have got this far. It always surprises me how people have to go to the end of the line before taking action. When it becomes apparent that extinction is a real possibility, desperate measures are taken to avert it when it would have been much easier and more natural to have left them alone in the first place.

Personally, I doubt if the Iberian lynx can be saved because beyond a certain point, when the population numbers become so small it is impossible to maintain genetic diversity. Inbreeding takes place which results in sterility and the end game arrives.

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