Nation & World News

Missing Lynx? Cat Is On ‘Brink Of Extinction,’ Study Says

By Mark Memmott on July 23rd, 2013

Already known as “the world’s most endangered feline species,” the Iberian lynx is headed to extinction in the wild within the next five decades, an international team of researchers warn in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“Anticipated climate change will rapidly and severely decrease lynx abundance and probably lead to its extinction in the wild within 50 years, even with strong global efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions,” they write.

The problem, they say, is that climate change has reduced the availability of the cats’ “main prey, the European rabbit,” CBS News reports.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the Iberian lynx could become “the first cat species to become extinct for at least 2,000 years. … In the early 19th century the Iberian lynx was found in Spain, Portugal and Southern France. It has steadily declined since then, falling to the dangerously low levels today.”

The researchers estimate there are “only an estimated 250 individuals surviving in the wild.” That’s up slightly from a decade ago thanks to “habitat management, reduction of destructive human activity and, more recently, reintroducing the lynx into suitable areas where they have lived in recent history.”

But, they warn, “ongoing conservation strategies could buy just a few decades before the species goes extinct.”

“The species is extremely vulnerable to shifts in habitat quality or to changes in the abundance of their rabbit prey due to climate change,” says Professor Barry Brook, Chair of Climate Science at the University of Adelaide, in a statement released by the researchers.

What do the researchers recommend? They say: “A carefully planned reintroduction program, accounting for the effects of climate change, prey abundance and habitat connectivity, could avert extinction of the lynx this century.” They also suggest putting some of the cats in “higher latitude and higher altitude regions on the Iberian Peninsula” where the climate should be more hospitable.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Producer Jerry Weintraub Dies At 77

The legendary producer behind such hits as The Karate Kid and Ocean’s Eleven died in Santa Barbara, Calif. The cause was cardiac arrest.


Cosby Admitted Giving Woman Quaaludes

The comedian testified in 2005 he got the sedative with the intent of giving it to women with whom he wanted to have sex.


President Obama delivers remarks Monday at the Pentagon after a briefing on U.S. efforts against the Islamic State.

Recent Islamic State Losses Show It Can Be Defeated, Obama Says

But the president warned that the campaign against the group that controls large parts of Syria and Iraq “will not be quick.”


The Confederate battle flag flies at the South Carolina State House in Columbia late last month. The state's Senate voted Monday to remove the flag; after one more vote on the bill, it will head to the House.

S.C. Senate Takes A Strong Step Toward Removing Confederate Flag

The state’s Senate will need to approve the bill one more time before it can go on to the House. Monday’s tally was 37-3; a final vote will be held Tuesday.


The popular reddit question-and-answer section /r/IAmA, along with hundreds of others, has shut down in an apparent protest over the dismissal of a key figure at the social sharing site.

Reddit CEO Apologizes Days After User Revolt Over Firing Of Popular Figure

Ellen Pao said the company had “screwed up … over the past several years,” leading up to the way it handled the dismissal of Victoria Taylor, the key figure in the r/IAmA section.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments