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Eurasion Lynx - The Comeback Cat

BY DIONNE LISTER

The Eurasion lynx is a regal, thick-furred cat that lives in snow country from Western Europe, through Russia to Tibet. The Eurasion lynx is not yet on the endangered list, but is classed as “Least Concern”. They could quickly become endangered if habitat loss and hunting are not curtailed. It is believed their numbers once dwindled as low as 700 (phew, that was close). The increasing urbanization of Western Europe, diminished prey base, and being hunting for their pelt and to stop them eating livestock, have led to a severe reduction of the Eurasian Lynx population.

Their pelt is a tawny colour and usually has dark spots and small stripes, which fade when they attain their winter coat. Their faces have a human quality with long fur framing the chin – almost like a beard. Pointy ears are topped off with a black tuft of fur. This lynx is the largest of the four types, weighing 15 kg - 29 kg with a shoulder height of about 24 inches (61 cm), although some are shorter. They have short tails, about half the length of a normal cat.

Their habitat is varied. They live in forested regions, semi-deserts, and even the Arctic tundra. In some places you may find 1-3 adults per 100 km2 up to 5 per 100 km2. Their numbers are lower in Central and Southern Europe, but a population of around 30,000 - 40,000 is thought to exist in Russia. Deers form a large part of their diet, but when the deer are scarce, they will consume smaller animals.

Litters usually contain 2-3 kittens. Their greeny/yellow eyes open after 2 weeks, and they will stay with their mother for about one year. When they go their own way, the siblings may stay together for a few weeks, until they are confident enough to survive on their own.

Even though they are not endangered today, it could easily change in years to come. The WWF is keeping an eye on these felines. You can visit their website to find out more about this cat and what is being done to ensure it survives.
 

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