(AFP) – 21 hours ago
MADRID — The Iberian lynx, the world’s most endangered feline species, could be a step further from extinction after a Spanish woman left three million euros in her will to help protect the animals.
The woman bequeathed a total of nine million euros (12 million dollars) to animal charities, one-third of which is to go to the lynxes, local authorities in Spain’s southern Andalucia region said Tuesday.
A six-year-old captive breeding programme for the lynx is based in Andalucia’s Donana National Park.
The Madrid newspaper El Pais said the woman died in October 2008 in Spain’s Canary Islands at the age of 60, but that little else was known about her.
Barely 200 Iberian lynxes are believed to remain in the wild, mostly in protected areas of southern Spain. At the start of the 20th century there were around 100,000 in Spain and Portugal.
But urban development, hunting, and most of all a dramatic decline due to disease in the number of wild rabbits, the lynx’s main prey, have sharply reduced the numbers of the spotted cats, which can grow to about one metre (three feet) in length.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature now lists the species as “critically endangered” — the highest category of risk for a wild animal.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at https://bigcatrescue.org
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