SPECIES–  Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus)

CURRENT RANGE– Iberian Peninsula, Europe

CURRENT THREAT– Habitat loss, Poisoning, Road Casualties, Feral Dogs

CONSERVATION STATUS– Critically Endangered

WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM– Doñana National Park, Spain


One of the most endangered cat species in the world (along with the Amur Leopard), the Iberian Lynx is native to Southern Europe‘s Iberian Peninsula– an area that encompasses Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar. Formerly classified as a subspecies of the Eurasian Lynx, the Iberian is differentiated by its coat– light grey or brownish-yellow with distinctive leopard-like spots– which is shorter than that of other lynxes (who tend to inhabit colder climates). The Iberian has the short tail, tufted ears and furry chin for which all lynxes are known, but it’s about half the size of the Eurasian Lynx: They average a shoulder height of 24-28 inches and a body length of 33-43 inches, with females averaging 21 pounds and males ranging from 28 to nearly 60 pounds. Preferring open scrub rather than the forests of its Eurasian cousins, Iberians hunt smaller mammals, amphibians birds and reptiles, usually at twilight.




The Iberian lynx is currently the most threatened carnivore in Europe, with population numbers estimated around 100 in recent years after being at 400 in 2000 and 4,000 in 1960. Its critically endangered status is primarily due to habitat loss from infrastructure improvement and urban and resort development, which has gradually broken up the lynx’s once-broad distribution area. Another factor is a gradual decline in the population of rabbits, their favorite prey, due to diseases such as myxomatosis and hemorrhagic pneumonia.



The good news is that, ever since being put on the International Union for the Conversation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, conservation efforts to protect the Iberian Lynx have been steadily increasing. SOS Lynx, a conservation organization  based in Portugal, has been working diligently to prevent extinction and lobbies to reintroduce the species to other parts of Spain and Portugal in order to reduce the risk of having only a few core breeding populations. Currently, the Iberian Lynx can be found in Doñana National Park, the Sierra de Andújar, and Castilla, La Mancha. But the region’s Ministry of Environment is currently in discussions to reintroduce the Iberian Lynx into the Campanarios de Azaba area near Salamanca. Though these gorgeous cats aren’t quite out of the woods just yet, organizations like SOS Lynx are ensuring that there’s hope for a much better future for the species ahead.  –Bret Love


If you enjoyed reading about the Iberian Lynx, you might also like:

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22 Responses to ENDANGERED SPECIES SPOTLIGHT: Iberian Lynx

  • Maria Millen says:

    We have bought a Valley in Aragon Spain and are being visited by a lynx and her cubs in the evening. We cannot identify if Eurasion or Iberian…either would be unusual in our location as we are too far North for Iberian and too far South for Eurasion. It is all very exciting but we cannot take a photo, as the flash may scare the family away. We are providing water and rabbit meat for them to help them survive as there is a heatwave at present and no rain in our location for months. We are surrounded by pine forest and are guessing they have smelled the water we have…..all so wonderful, hoping it is Iberian and they are making a comeback as last one seen in Aragon (and it had been shot dead) I believe was in 1930 I believe. Please advise further how we can do the right thing by this lovely creature and her two little cubs..

    • founders says:

      Maria, I’ll send you an email to make sure you get this, but I would recommend contacting SOS Lynx immediately. They’re based in Portugal, but I’m certain they will be able to help put you in touch with the people who can help you make sure the Lynx family is taken care of. Contacting you privately right now.

  • Oh my. I know they’re endangered (great informative post on that, btw), and I know they’re dangerous…. but as a cat person, all I want to do is cuddle one! Their faces and cheek tufts are really quite lovely. Beautiful animals.

    • founders says:

      Agreed! A friend of ours owns a wildlife rehab sanctuary in north Georgia and has two white bengal tigers. I’ve never touched them, but the desire is certainly there. I did get to help him with a baby tiger one time when a school group came to visit. It was pretty amazing.

  • Sandy says:

    Iberian lynx is such a beautiful animal! We must protect them! The biggest problem is that people destroyed their natural habitat!

    • founders says:

      It’s true, but I do believe that the species has hope for a brighter future thanks to the conservation efforts of organizations such as SOS Lynx.

  • It is sad that any species must suffer because of humans. And what many don’t realize is that we may be talking about one species today but in reality we’re talking about our own survival.

    I hope these beautiful cats make it! Thank you for sharing this information with us!

    • founders says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting! And I agree with you: The more species we lose, the more we ourselves are in danger of becoming lost. I can’t even imagine a world without wildlife…

  • jade says:

    Wow- I had no idea they were endangered. Hopefully with becoming under the IUCN they can rebuild their numbers.

    • founders says:

      Hopefully, yes. But these things take time, money, and a lot of hard work by devout conservationists. Another reason why we believe ecotourism is crucial for our planet’s future.

  • Arti says:

    It is such a beautiful animal. It Is a shame that humans, for all their greed cut out the habitat of these animals.

  • Maria Millen says:

    Just an update, we are still being visited by the Lynx and her cubs, we cannot establish yet how many she has, we think two/maybe three. Hard to tell with only moonlight. We have found that she does not like processed ham lol, but she will eat ham off the bone and rabbit…We have also seen some large ( what could be canine tracks) one metre apart !! Wondering what this is, could it be a wolf? Perhaps Bear? Also tracks from hooved animals, we think deer/ibex/wild boar…..we now have our own wildlife Zoo and it is fantastic…oh to have a trapper camera set up…sadly we will be leaving the Valley for a few weeks due to the intense 50 degree heat, so I am hoping our animals will be ok until we return….we have bought a huge container of water and attached a hose to it……..so at least they can have a drink…Interestingly , Green Global was the only organisation I contacted that responded to my messages regarding what could be a possible sighting of the most endangered cat species in the world….thanks Bret for your help.

    • founders says:

      Thanks for the update, Maria! I’m going to forward your messages to our friends at the World Wildlife Fund to see if they can put you in touch with someone who can help. Stay tuned…

      • Maria Millen says:

        WWF were the first people I contacted…they responded asking me what I needed to know! I emailed back asking for someone who had some understanding of the significance of this sighting..that was over two weeks ago and I have not heard back from them…

        • founders says:

          Hey Maria, just emailed you a couple of other leads. We emailed our friends at WWF, who are a little higher up in the organization (they work in the main office in Washington DC) tonight and will let you know as soon as we hear back from them.

  • Michael says:

    They look so badass and beautiful!! Such a shame they are endangered.

  • matt Walter says:

    I have lived in Andorra for 15 years; in that time I have seen many Wild Boar and Deer, sometimes crossing the road, at night, but also in the garden. At my home, two Lynx have been in the garden, plus I have Pine Martins, Badgers, Foxes, Owls, Bats and sometimes the odd Vulture flies over.

  • Andy says:

    I’ve not seen the Iberian, but the Eurasian Lynx is beautiful. Only seen them in captivity but they do roam free here in Norway. And yes, they do look cuddly (and I love those ear tips!) but you still have to be careful around them 🙂

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