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

Dante Martin waits for jury selection on Monday, Oct. 27, as he stood trial in Orange County, Fla.

Former Band Member Found Guilty In FAMU Hazing Case

A Florida jury found Dante Martin guilty of manslaughter for his role in the fatal hazing of drum major Robert Champion.


The commercial space ship, pictured here in an earlier test flight, crashed in the California Desert.

1 Dead After Commercial Spaceship Crashes During Test Flight

The Virgin Galactic Spaceship Two was undergoing a test flight when it crashed in the California desert. The spaceship is designed to take tourists to space.


Rita Jeptoo of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the Women's Elite division of the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014.

With Reports Of Doping, World Marathon Majors Postpones Awards Ceremony

Rita Jeptoo, the accomplished marathoner who holds the course record at Boston, has reportedly tested positive for a banned substance. The Majors said it’s awaiting a decision by the governing body.


Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, take delivery of a pizza at their home in Fort Kent, Maine, on Thursday. A judge has ruled that the state cannot compel Hickox to remain in isolation if she's not showing signs of Ebola infection.

Maine Judge Rejects State’s Bid To Restrict Nurse’s Movements

The request by state officials would have compelled Kaci Hickox, who shows no symptoms of Ebola, to isolate herself until Nov. 10.


He's not welcome in Vendargues. The French town has banned people from dressing up as clowns for the next month following violent incidents across the country.

No Joke: French Town Cracks Down On Clown Costumes After Attacks

The French town of Vendargues has banned people from dressing up as clowns for a month starting today. The move follows violent incidents across the country involving teens dressed as clowns.


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
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments