Let's make Europe wild again
This cutie is an Iberian lynx, Europe’s most endangered wild cat, trying to survive in the Portuguese & Spanish cork oak forests. Using cork from these forests helps preserving their habitat, it avoids cutting down the trees to make roads or for intensive farming. Besides that, breeding & preservation programs are helping the Iberian lynx to survive.
We have pledged to support CBD HABITAT, an organization that takes actions to preserve the lynx’s ecosystem. Your purchases have a direct impact on Europe’s wild. So let the lynx roar again!! (They actually don’t roar, but you get us right?)
The cork oak forests boasts one of the most diverse ecosystems found outside of the Amazon or Borneo rain forests, with hundreds of different species such as the Iberian wolf, Spanish imperial eagle and the Iberian lynx calling this ecosystem their home. The Iberian lynx is the only remaining wild cat in Europe, and relies on cork forests for shelter and as a hunting ground.
Two decades ago, fewer than 100 Iberian lynx remained, and the situation was highly critical. Prompted by the critically low numbers and partly funded by the European Union, the Lynx programme was launched, pillared by a breeding program and habitat safeguards.
The Breeding Program
The breeding program was initially an emergency strategy surrounded by uncertainty. Scientists had little knowledge of lynx biology: would the animal be capable of adapting and breeding in captivity? And, if so, could a captive-bred lynx survive in the wild?
In hindsight, biologists had little to fear. Following the program’s implementation, the number of cubs soon exceeded the facilities’ capacity, and more centers were opened to house the animals. Over the years, nearly 500 lynxes were born across five captive breeding locations in Spain and Portugal: El Acebuche, La Olivilla, Silves, Zarza de Granadilla and Zoobotánico de Jerez. It’s an impressive success story.
The breeding program was only the beginning and there are still a lot of obstacles in the way for the Iberian lynx. These threats include habitat loss, declining food source, poaching and car collisions.
Firstly, rabbits are the favourite food of the Iberian lynx, but rabbit populations have fallen due to epidemics which has, in turn, negatively affected the lynx’s population.
Besides boosting rabbit numbers, the conservation of the Mediterranean scrubland has been, and will continue to be, a pivotal part of preserving the lynx.