Iberian lynx, also known as liberne, gato-cravo and lobo-cerval.
Being rare and exclusive to the Iberian Peninsula, the Iberian lynx is one of the most endangered wild cats in the world and the most endangered carnivore in Europe, with less than a thousand animals in the wild, most of them in Spain. In Portugal, where there is a single but very important breeding population in the wild, in the Guadiana Valley, the species remains Critically Endangered. The Iberian Lynx has very particular characteristics that distinguish it from other cats. Namely, it’s stiff, brush-like black hairs on the tip of the ears, its short tail with a black tip, and the long white and black hairs on the muzzle that resemble beards and grow with age.
Its yellow-brown coat with black patches allows it to camouflage beautifully through the Mediterranean landscape’s vegetation, where it lives, and each individual has a unique coat pattern, which enables one to distinguish it from all others of its species.
There were several causes that led to the rapid decline of Iberian lynx populations over the past decades. However, the near disappearance of this charismatic feline was essentially due to the regression of its main prey, the wild rabbit, as well as the loss and deterioration of its habitat. Currently in recovery and expanding its territory, as a result of a combination of in situ conservation efforts, and a breeding program in captivity with reintroduction into the wild, unnatural death by being run over adds to its main causes of mortality.