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Species Facts

The Iberian lynx is a medium-sized cat with a short tail, a short body, long legs, tufted ears, and a relatively small head.

  • Scientific Designation: Lynx pardinus
  • Endangered Status: Endangered (EN)
  • Lifespan: Up to 13 years
  • Weight: 9-18 kg
  • Body Length: 84-110 cm
  • Height: 20-25 cm
  • Tail Length: 12-13 cm


Of all lynx, the Iberian has the most heavily spotted coat. The coat is sparse, short, and coarse. The coat’s base color is bright yellowish red or tawny, overlaid with dark brown or black spots. The cat has white underparts. This species, like other cat species, is sexually dimorphic, with males being heavier and longer than females. 

Distribution map is shows a very close view of the Andalusian region of Spain. There are very few small spots shaded in; the distribution is clearly extremely limited.


Once distributed throughout the Iberian Peninsula, the species is now sparsely distributed in Spain and Portugal. Within this diminished range, these solitary cats prefer areas with dense cover, although the type of habitat can vary considerably. The Iberian lynx is most abundant where habitat diversity is high and the vegetative cover is a mosaic of open forest mixed with extensive areas of dense bush or shrubs. This lynx is generally nocturnal and its activity patterns are closely synchronized with those of their major prey, the rabbit.

Distribution map courtesy of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), compiled in 2015 by Iberlince / EU LIFE Programme;

Threats to the Iberian Lynx

This species is seriously endangered in the wild. Populations have been greatly reduced, existing now in small, highly fragmented areas. This pocketing has put intense pressure on the animals. Threats to this species are related to human activities, such as poaching and habitat destruction. The Iberian lynx is considered Endangered (EN) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and protected under appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

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