Lisbon Zoo
Lisbon Zoo receives two specimens of Iberian lynx, the most endangered feline in the World

The Lisbon Zoo has just received two specimens of Iberian lynx, under the purview of the conservation project of this species and in partnership with the Institute for Conservation of Nature and Forestry (ICNF). The Iberian lynx is the most endangered feline in the world.

Azahar, the female founder, has now arrived at the Lisbon Zoo, she has lived in the National Center for Reproduction of the Iberian Lynx (CNRLI) since January of 2005 under the Iberian off-site Conservation Programme of the Iberian Lynx.

Gamma, the male, was born in 2010 in the Reproduction Center of La Olivilla in Spain, and moved to CNRLI last November. The two specimens are now ambassadors of the species in the Lisbon Zoo and with them an important educational mission among its visitors, begins.

Included in the action plan for the conservation of the Iberian Lynx, the Lisbon Zoo takes responsibility as trustee of these two specimens that, consequently, end their active life in CNRLI, since they do not meet the requirements to be reintroduced into nature.

With the arrival of the Iberian lynx couple, the Lisbon Zoo will have a strategic role in the conservation plan for this species as a key instrument for dissemination and awareness among the population.

With a very limited geographical distribution, the Iberian lynx is an endemic species to the Iberian Peninsula and is classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (UICN). Its survival is still at risk and in a pre-extinction situation. In 1950 it was estimated that there were around 5,000 specimens in the wild, today that number is under 350.

"This project makes us very proud and reinforces our mission: to preserve and to conserve endangered species. The Iberian lynx is even more important to us because it is an endemic species to the Iberian Peninsula, facing a serious threat", says the President of the Lisbon Zoo, Francisco Naharro Pires.

As was stated by Miguel de Castro Neto, the Secretary of State for Regional Planning and Nature Conservation, "the possibility of getting to know the Iberian lynx on the premises of the Lisbon Zoo allows for wide dissemination of its cause and strong support for the process of its reintroduction in Portugal. We count on everyone´s commitment for the valorization of our natural resources."

About the Iberian lynx:

The Iberian lynx (Lynx Pardinus) is known for its dense pattern of black spots, a short tail, long limbs and tufts of black hair shaped as a brush on the edge its ears. As a predator its ability is reinforced by physical characteristics such as, for example, fur between its footpads to silently approach the prey.

Mostly active at night, the Iberian lynx hunts alone by ambush and its food base is the wild rabbit.

Interestingly, when there are several Iberian lynxes in the wild, there is an increase in the number of rabbits, since the greater the number of resident lynxes, the smaller the number of other rabbit predators and small species, thus increasing the number of ideal rabbits for the balance of the ecosystem.

Since it is a solitary species, the adult Iberian lynxes only bond close to the mating season, during the months of January and February, from which 2 to 4 cubs are born.

Will you stay at home? Contribute to this global conservation plan and get to know the two Iberian lynx specimens of the Lisbon Zoo up-close.

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