Iberian Lynx Kittens


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The Iberian lynx preys foremost on the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) for the bulk of its diet, supplemented by red-legged partridge, rodents and to a smaller degree also on wild ungulates. It sometimes preys on young fallow deer, roe deer, mouflon, and ducks. A male requires one rabbit per day while a female raising kittens will eat three per day. The Iberian species has low adaptability — it continued to rely heavily on rabbits (75% of its food intake) despite the latter's repeated population crashes due to two diseases: myxomatosis, which spread to Iberia after a physician intentionally introduced it in France in 1952, and rabbit haemorrhagic disease beginning in 1988. There were two major outbreaks of the latter in 2011 and 2012. Recovery has occurred in some areas — in 2013, rabbit overpopulation was reported south of Córdoba, causing damage to transport infrastructure and farms. In December 2013, however, it was reported that wildlife officials were concerned about the spread of a new strain of the hemorraghic disease, affecting mainly young rabbits. Sierra Morena's rabbit population was worst affected, falling from an average of three per hectare to less than one — below the minimum required level of 1. 5 to two per hectare. Forced to travel greater distances for food, the lynx became more susceptible to death in road accidents, particularly on Autovía A-4.