Spain is better known for its nightclubs than its wild animals, but that's an injustice. Surrounded by the sea and isolated from the rest of Europe during the formation of the Pyrenees, the Iberian Peninsula is home to a unique fauna, including the Iberian lynx, or pardelle lynx.
Saving the Lynx
Once present throughout Spain, Portugal and France, one of the only European carnivores now resides in only two territories in Andalusia and a few forest areas in Portugal. Great efforts are being made to save this feline, in particular by increasing the number of rabbits in these regions (they make up to 85% of its diet). Captive breeding programs and campaigns to signal these felines on the roads that cross their territory are also carried out.
How to observe it?
Despite the fact that it is critically endangered, the Iberian lynx can be observed if you know how to look. The best time to spot it is either during the breeding season, between December and May, or when the females start caring for their young, between March and May. There are two important sites: Doñana National Park in the southwest and Sierra de Andujar National Park in central Spain. Both of these parks have areas set aside to protect endangered lynxes, but some parks are allowed for visitors, with Doñana Park even having an Iberian lynx breeding center. This feline usually lives in scrubland or forest, so observing an open area from a high point is a good start. If you don't want an official guide, you can ask locals who may know the best observation points.
Follow the guide!
The best way to have this beautiful experience is to get help from experts. Many companies offer tours to observe lynxes and offer constant observation of them from one year to the next. These guides know the area like the back of their hand and are your best chance of spotting a lynx. If you are going on an expedition in the summer, wear light, neutral-colored clothing and good walking shoes; In winter, on the other hand, wrap up well. Remember, a lynx can spot a mouse from 75 m away, so it will have no problem seeing you. Stay quiet and still, and if a lynx appears, enjoy the view!
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- Animal Minutes