Tag Archives: Mammals of Spain

Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) Lince Ibérico


Lynx pardinus (Felis pardina or pardinus, Felis lynx pardina, Lynx lynx pardina)… Too many names!

Once found throughout Spain and Portugal. the Iberian lynx began to decline in the first half of the 20th century due to over hunting and trapping for the fur trade. This decline was hugely accelerated after the 1950’s with the spread of myxomatosis. A disease which decimated populations of the European rabbit, the lynx’s main prey.

From the 1980’s the Iberian lynx was considered by IUCN (the International Union for the Conservation of Nature) to be critically endangered and became known as the world’s most threatened cat species.

However, as a result of the increasing population size, the Iberian Lynx no longer qualifies for IUCN Critically Endangered status and is therefore listed as Endangered under criterion D. The improved status of this species is all due to various intensive and ongoing conservation programs.

Current populations and programs

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Iberian Wolf (Canis lupus signatus) Lobo Ibérico

  • Spanish: Lobo
  • Catalan: Llop

The Iberian wolf, Canis Lupus, has suffered much persecution over the centuries. Already being eradicated from many countries and, despite a bounty on every head of a wolf during the 1950’s and 60’s. Some small populations of these mammals survived and now receive a partial protection especially when they reside in protected (natural and national park) areas of Spain. (A hunting ban came into force in 2021)

Read about the recent hunting ban of the Iberian wolf over at the Iberia Nature Forum: https://iberianatureforum.com/forums/topic/iberian-wolf-hunting-ban/ Feel free to join in with the topics there! 🙂

Iberian wolf populations are mainly in scattered packs in the forests and plains of north-western Spain, the Sierra Morena in Andalusia (current numbers unknown and could be zero?) and the north of Portugal also holds small numbers.

The Iberian wolf can reach a height of around 70cm and length of 120cm. The animal is different in colour from the Eurasian wolf by having dark markings on its forelegs, back and tail with white markings on its upper lips. This is the reason for the last part of the scientific name, with signatus meaning “marked”. Males weigh around 40kg with females being of a finer / slimmer build.

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Aiming for the Return of the Iberian Lynx in Aragón

The General Directorate of Natural Environment, under the Spanish Department of Environment and Tourism, is embarking on an information and citizen participation initiative for the potential reintroduction of the Iberian lynx in Aragon. This pivotal step seeks to achieve consensus among various stakeholders invested in the restoration of this iconic species to the Aragonese fauna.

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