Rabbits leap to lynx rescue

LAST UPDATED: 16 Oct, 2009 @ 12:17
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Rabbits leap to lynx rescue

Endangered species to feed on thousands of bunnies per year

FIVE thousand rabbits per year are to be released in one of the few remaining habitats of the endangered Iberian lynx.

Authorities in the Doñana National Park, Huelva, hope huge numbers of the cat’s natural prey will stop the animal roaming away from the park in search of food.

With only 150 believed to be remaining in the wild, the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is the world’s most endangered feline.

Now, the parks population can feed on the reintroduced mountain rabbit, which has long been extinct from Doñana through diseases such as mixamotosis and pneumonia.

“We hope this reintroduction project will help reinforce not only the lynx population but that of the Imperial eagle,” Carlos Urdiales, head of the rabbit programme, said.

Numbers of the lynx have dropped dramatically in the past 50 years when the animal was widespread throughout Spain and Portugal.

Today, the animal is extinct in Portugal with only a few isolated colonies in Donaña and the mountains of Jaen and Castilla La Mancha.

Meanwhile, no lynx died on roads in the Doñana National Park in 2007 – a huge decrease from the previous year when five animals were hit by vehicles in the park.

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  1. Though I know that rabbits are a wide ranged prey and though i have them as pets accept that (love cats too) I know for a fact that snow shoe hares and other prey of the lynx are also under going a drop in population. It would be right to keep all things fare and try to raise the snow shoe hare and other preys population to. If the cat is kept in a wide spread natural habbitat and is fed a variety of small animals it will live…and so will the snow shoe. I think that it is wise though to keep the lynx in its own habbitat (were it is now), it is a preditor and if it choses to leave in lack of prey it should, instead of droping the snow shoe hares population. feeding this lynx yourself will make it more reliant than it already is on the snow shoe, but it can take other prey, we should do our best to grow all populations not just one, and it doesn’t start by feeding away with our small animals. Varieties of food please? keep it even.

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