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Lynx, Spanish

Lynx, SpanishThe Spanish Lynx (Lynx pardinus, sometimes Felis pardina) or Iberian Lynx is sometimes classified as a subspecies of the Eurasian Lynx, but most authorities regard it as a separate species. While the Eurasian Lynx bears rather pallid markings, the Spanish Lynx has distinctive, leopard-like spots. It is furthermore smaller than its northern relative and hence hardly able to hunt animals larger than hares. However, when hungry, the Spanish Lynx may attack young deer or mouflons.

Zoological name: Lynx pardinus

Physical presence on the planet: The majority of Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) populations are restricted to the Iberian Peninsula in Spain (about 14,000 square km), with a few small populations in the Algarve mountains and Serra da Malcata Nature Reserve ( about 700 square km) in Portugal. The Spanish populations live in controlled hunting zones called 'cotos'. Though critically endangered, these animals are still on the verminous animal list and may be shot on sight, except for when they range within National parks and reserves. The lynx living in Portugal are thought to number only about 50 individuals.

Physical description: Iberian lynx are similar in appearance to Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) but overall smaller. Despite many external similarities, the Iberian lynx is a distinct species. Iberian lynx have the characteristically bobbed tail, tufted ears and jaws, spotted coat, muscular body, long legs, and quick reflexes found in Eurasian lynx. Male Iberian lynxes weigh, on average, 12.8 kg, but can reach 26.8 kg. Females reach a mass of about 9.3 kg.

Diet: The primary diet for this Lynx is small ungulates such as roe deer, chamois, and musk deer, and in other parts pikas, large rodents and hares. In some of their range, they will hunt larger ungulates as much as 3-4 times their own size - most notably reindeer. In areas where there are no ungulates, but arctic hares exist, then they fluctuate cyclically.

Reproduction & Offspring: Mating is believed to occur in January. Gestation is about two months, at the end of which two or three kittens are born. The kittens achieve independence at around eight months old.

Sexual maturity is reached at around one year old, but first reproduction may not happen until much later, dependent on various environmental factors.

Lynx, Spanish Conservation status: Due to low numbers, habitat fragmentation, and limited habitat, Lynx pardinus is considered one of the world's most endangered cat species. Population fluxes in the lynx's main prey, European rabbits, due to infection with the pox virus myxomatosis, have taken a large toll on the lynx population also. Currently the Spanish government is attempting to set up a permanent and protected area for Iberian lynx. Studies of these animals, with the help of radio collars, are giving researchers an idea of the total necessary ranges of the lynx. Dofina National Park is already in the process of a conservation project for Iberian lynx and has had some success. Lynx numbers range are estimated at about 1000 individuals scattered among 9 populations.

The Spanish (or Iberian) Lynx rivals the Iriomote Cat for the title of the world's most endangered cat. The IUCN Red List has this lynx as Endangered.

Life span: upto 13 years
Behaviour of Spanish Lynx!!
Lynx are shy and solitary, except for mothers with cubs. They mark their territories by urinating on trees and rocks. Male territories can overlap several female territories. Females usually have one mate per season, but males may have more than one.

Spanish lynx are active at night. They stay active in winter and their fur becomes thicker and paler. In extreme weather, they take shelter in caves or trees.

Lynx bury any uneaten prey and return the next day to finish it off.

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