LYNX AID is a minor campaign... fighting for a major cause: the survival of a species.
LYNX AID is the campaign founded by ©Catscraze – a kinda organization for fans of the animal world – to raise money for the conservation of the most endangered feline on the planet, the Iberian Lynx. Also the most endangered carnivore in Europe and one of the rarest mammals in the world, Spain and Portugal's only native big cat could very soon disappear forever, if not enough is done to stop its steep decline.

Once found throughout the Iberian Peninsula, as far as the south of France, the numbers of this rare and beautiful feline have dropped dramatically, leaving the current population at around 100 individuals, divided into two main breeding populations in the south of Spain. Breeding centers have been working on helping the animals multiply to be later let out in the wild, and the Iberian lynx is finally starting to come to the public's attention. But it is not nearly enough.

 
 
 
 


Though hunting lynx is illegal, it sometimes occurs, often as a consequence of carelessness: lynx are shot at if thought to be deer or as pests, get caught in traps set for rabbits, etc. Plus, human infrastructures and agriculture are a serious interference in the animals' normal way of life, as roads divide lynx territory and must be crossed – often unsuccessfully – to obtain sufficient food or to reproduce; agriculture and building steals huge amounts of forest, scrub and meadow where the Iberian lynx live, breed and hunt.
However, one of the most important factors causing the lynx's sharp decline is decaying rabbit populations. Last century, the outbreak of myxomatosis killed astronomical amounts of rabbits, the basis of the Iberian lynx's and many other Iberian animals' diets. The disease originated in France in the fifties, where a farmer used it to try to protect his crops, and within a year had reached Spain and had wiped out most of the country's rabbits, and the animals that depended on them. When the rabbit was just recovering, the eighties saw the apearance of VHD, a virus that had spread from China a few years before and had much the same effect as myxomatosis.

Though the death rate caused by both diseases has dropped, they do continue to kill. The rabbits are being helped along to keep populations up, but are lacking in the north of the peninsula. Though hunting is restricted and supposedly controlled, illegal hunting sometimes kills rabbits, too.
Ironically, the presence of Iberian lynx benefits rabbits. Though, of course, they eat them, keeping lynx numbers high keeps generalist predator's numbers from getting too high, which would result in the over-hunting of rabbits. And although many, many species depend on the rabbit, none except the Iberian lynx and the now-recovering Spanish Imperial Eagle depend so heavily on it.
Conserving the Iberian lynx doesn't just mean the survival of its kind, but that of many other species of animals and plants.

If rabbits – the key link between Spain and Portugal's ecosystem's natural chain – benefit, inevitably, everything and everyone else will benefit. Lynxes, wolves and bears and many others benefit, even humanity benefits: conserving forests means cleaner air, more natural spaces and a clearer conscience.

Help prevent humanity from causing the first extinction of a feline species since the disappearance of the sabre-tooth cats.