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One of world’s rarest cats no longer endangered

by editor

One of the world’s rarest cats, the Iberian lynx, is no longer classed as endangered, according to a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

On Thursday the IUCN, which categorises species according to the level of risk they face in a “red list”, bumped the Iberian lynx from “endangered” to “vulnerable” after a significant surge in numbers.

Its population grew from 62 mature individuals in 2001 to 648 in 2022. While young and mature lynx combined now have an estimated population of more than 2,000, the IUCN reports.

As the name suggests, the wild cat species calls the Iberian region – Spain and Portugal – home.

According to the latest census data, there were a total of 14 clusters where the animals were stable and reproducing. Of those, 13 were located in Spain and one in Portugal.

The increase is largely thanks to conservation efforts that have focused on increasing the abundance of its prey – the also endangered wild rabbit, known as European rabbit.

Programmes to free hundreds of captive lynxes and restoring scrublands and forests have also played an important role in ensuring the lynx is no longer endangered.

Established in 1964, the IUCN’s red list of threatened species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species.

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