St Albans snapper sets out to save the lynx
- Credit: Photo supplied by Luke Massey
Hopes to save the critically endangered Iberian lynx from extinction have spurred a St Albans wildlife photographer to document and raise awareness of these wild cats.
Luke Massey has travelled to Andalucia in Spain for three months as part of a conservation project.
He said: “The aim is to raise the profile of the Iberian lynx which is actually the rarest cat in the world. There are around 300 left in the wild and they only exist in small pockets here in Andalucia and Extremadura.
“If current trends continue the lynx could be extinct within 25 years, and if this were to happen it would be the first feline extinction for 2,000 years.”
The wild cat’s main prey is the European rabbit - however this food source has plummeted, mainly due to the viral disease myxomatosis, which has decimated the wild rabbit population.
This means they have not been able to raise cubs and have died due to starvation.
Luke added: “The lynx are also illegally hunted and hit by cars as they travel further and further to find food. Just last week two lynx were killed by cars.
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“Our work will cover trying to track down the elusive lynx as well as showing what work is being done to save it, from releasing captive bred specimens back into the wild, building rabbit warrens and releasing rabbits into them as well as documenting why the lynx is dying out.”
Luke is working alongside Katie Stacey, who is writing blogs to support the project.
Artist Helen Ahpornsiri has designed a lynx portrait made from fern leaves, which has been reproduced as limited print editions available on www.lynxonthebrink.com
Donations can also be made via the website.
Funds will be used to restore habitats and create a ‘lynx haven’ in the heart of their territory.