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 Iberian lynx facing extinction - claim

Friday 11 March 2005

lynxThe endangered Iberian lynx is being driven to extinction by the actions of the European Union and Spanish authorities and could be wiped out by the end of the decade, according to conservation group WWF. Road building projects and a dam development in the rare species’ habitat are jeopardising its population, and accidental collisions now make up the biggest cause of death for the lynx.

Just 100 Iberian lynxes remain in the wild, a sharp fall from the estimated 400 that were around five years ago. Ominously, only 21-25 breeding females are left amongst two isolated populations.

"Unless something drastic happens rapidly the Iberian lynx is a dead cat walking,” explained Callum Rankine, Senior Species Officer for WWF UK. “With such a small population, the accidental loss of just one individual on a road brings the species closer to the brink of extinction.”

WWF found that more than 50 heavy public works in Spain currently threaten the existence of the Iberian lynx, and the EU’s Natura 2000 conservation scheme fails to cover a key site that would aid the species breeding.

"It is ridiculous that the European Commission is supporting projects aimed at protecting the Iberian lynx with one hand, while funding road and Dam schemes that are pushing it into extinction with the other."

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