The most endangered feline of the planet is only found in the Iberian Peninsula in a natural way. It lives between Cardeña and Montoro mountains, Andujar and the Doñana area, so it is possible you see it during your visit.
The Iberian Lynx
Although the Iberian Lynx has been a protected species since 1966, this wonderful feline is in danger of extinction. There are around six hundred specimens of Iberian Lynx all over the world.
Nowadays, the lynx habitat is at the peak of the olive trees and in the scrublands of the southern area of the Natural Park, it looks for rabbit populations. It lives in the quietest places of the Natural Park and Preparque and it is usual to find it almost anywhere.
This exceptional feline which is endemic in Spain and Portugal, was distributed throughout the Peninsula in the past, but this animal populations have decreased drastically over time.
The peaceful oak forests and scrublands of Sierra de Cardeña-Montoro Natural Park and its surroundings have become one of the last refuges of this extraordinary animal species that is difficult to see in nature.
What is the Iberian Lynx like?
The Iberian Lynx has the appearance of a big size cat, whose skin is stained with patches, it has a very short tail and pointed ears that end in a characteristic plume of hair like a brush.
It inhabits the quietest places in the park, and at dawn, after having made a stealthy nocturnal journey in search of hunting, it usually receives the first rays of the sun lying on the warm granite stones.
Rabbits are its main source of food. It depends on the health of these mammal populations to survive to a large extend.
Why did this species begin to disappear?
The main causes are because of declining rabbit populations, habitat destruction and unnatural mortality.
First, the breach of rabbit populations and then the habitat destruction have caused a great decrease in the carrying capacity of the environment. That is to say, in an area where there used to be conditions for ten lynxes to live, one could do it at present. In addition, an increase in the importance of diseases has been detected over the population.
Iberian Lynx Reintroduction
The reintroduction of this animal takes place thanks to the positive evolution of lynx populations in the natural environment, the good progress of the captive breeding programme that is developed in Andalusia, as well as the involvement of local villages, property owners and hunters society when welcoming these felines.
In addition to the efforts of the projects to recover this feline species, there are populations of Lynxes that have been expanded naturally after the development of the measures included in the different LIFE programmes that have been implemented.
At present, the Iberian lynx is restricted to two separate areas, Doñana-Aljarafe and Sierra Morena (Guadalmellato-Cardeña-Andújar-Guarrizas), although some reintroductions began in Portugal, Extremadura and Castilla-La Mancha in 2014 and consequently, then beginning the expansion of the species outside Andalusia.