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Endangered Iberian Lynx Facing New Threat

March 9, 2010

Conservationist groups are reporting that the world’s top endangered species of feline is facing a new challenge — Chronic Kidney Disease (CDK).

In a statement released on March 9, 2010, the Lynx Conservation Program states that three of the 72 Iberian Lynx raised in breeding centers in Spain have succumbed to the illness, and more than a third of the animals housed at the country’s two breeding centers have shown symptoms of CDK.

According to the AFP, veterinarians at the centers say that they are “working and consulting with experts to try to find the possible origin of the CKD, as well as trying to put in place measures that could prevent the emergence of new cases.” Their main focus right now, however, is “on maintaining and providing palliative care to the high percentage of the population affected by this disease.”

The Iberian Lynx, sometimes also referred to as the Spanish Lynx, is native to the Iberian Peninsula in the southern part of Europe. This feline’s coat is usually light gray or brownish-yellow, and it has a spotted coat not unlike a leopard. It is usually 33 to 43 inches long (not including the tail) and boasts four sets of whiskers — two on the chin and two more on the ears.

There are believed to be less than 200 Iberian Lynx left worldwide. According to information attributed to the conservation group SOSLynx and published in an April 2002 guardian.co.uk article, if the Iberian Lynx becomes extinct, it would be the first member of its animal family to die out since prehistoric times.

Image Caption: Iberian lynx. Credit: Miguel Rodríguez / SINC

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