The Iberian lynx is the world's most endangered feline species. However, conservation measures have helped enable its numbers to grow dramatically in recent years.
For more than two decades, the Iberian lynx, native to the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain) has been classified as critically endangered. In 2002, numbers dwindled to just 94 in Spain and none in Portugal.
Thanks to ongoing conservation efforts, Iberian lynx numbers rose to 1,111 in the wild last year, including 239 breeding females and 414 newborn cubs. The number is a record high which gives tremendous reason to be optimistic about the survival of the species.
New populations of the Iberian lynx have also sprung up naturally – without having to be reintroduced – in the Sierra Norte mountain ranges and in Extremadura. This is good news because it means that when the animals disperse they can find others to mate with and do not have to continue searching until mating season.
To establish a sustainable population, the number of these wild felines needs to be above 3,000, including 750 breeding females, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature - a goal that should be achieved by 2040.