Your cat’s distant, larger, cooler cousin, the Iberian lynx is currently found in Spain and Portugal. A terrestrial animal that ranges 10 square miles from its den, the lynxes buries the remains of its prey, which are mostly European rabbits. With an awareness of ecological dynamics that is keener than most contemporary Homo sapiens, these lynxes are known to kill and displace other predators that eat rabbits, including foxes, which ensures enough food for themselves and their offspring. Over the last two decades more than $100 million has been spent on conservation measures targeting the remaining lynxes, but climate change impacts may overwhelm those efforts. Scientists expect warming temperatures and an increasingly dry climate in the Iberian peninsula to kill off the lynxs’ staple food. Trapping and hunting of the lynx isn’t helping either. The Iberian lynx would be the first species of cat to go extinct in 10,000 years.
Art by Elaine Bradford