VILCHES, Spain — The Iberian lynx is a picky eater. Despite its agility and speed, it almost only chases rabbits.This narrow choice of prey helps explain why this feline came close to extinction less than two decades ago, after disease wiped out large numbers of rabbits from the Iberian Peninsula. But a vast breeding and relocation program has now turned the lynx into a flagship example of Europe’s efforts to maintain its biodiversity.The program, mostly financed by the European Union, was begun after the Iberian lynx became the world’s most endangered feline, based on a 2002 census that showed fewer than 100 individuals remained in the wild. Now, the lynx population has rebounded to almost 550 animals, living in nine different parts of southern Spain and Portugal, compared with only two areas when the lynx came close to extinction.An Iberian lynx was first born in captivity in 2005, but the task of breeding them remains complicated and costly, like “having a nursery for rich kids, in which you have one teacher for each kid,” said Angelo Salsi, an Italian official in Brussels who manages the European Commission’s Life environmental program, which has financed the return of the Iberian lynx.
Bravo, Bravo. Thank you Raphael Minder. I do not tire of saying that I just finished reading “Half Earth” by Edward O Wilson of Harvard, which I recommend to all literate humanists. 7.5 billion people, we are the new meteor that is causing the sixth extinction. Wilson et al, in the Half Earth research effort, recommend that we should, must, set aside half of the earth for non human species, or we will lose 50 to 80% of the earths species in the next 100 years or less. What he mentions without detail, is their firm belief that homo sapiens will go extinc if all these other species do. I need source recommendations on this argument. It makes sense though, that we are not the kings and queens of the complex, not yet understood biosphere, we are part of it and dependent on it. David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com