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.