The San Diego Zoo’s first lynx residents were bobcats that arrived in 1922. A Eurasian lynx came in 1938.
The world is not a safe place for lynx right now. They are having a harder time finding food as more people move into the cats' habitats. And in some areas, their forest homes are being cut down for agricultural uses. Hunting is still a problem for these beautiful animals, too. The soft, luxurious coat that keeps lynx warm and comfortable in the colder months is also popular in the fur industry, especially the lighter-colored belly fur. It is estimated that about 90,000 bobcat and lynx pelts are sold each year to fur markets. We think the coats look much better on the cats!
The Spanish lynx population currently numbers less than 150 individuals. Sadly, this makes them one of the rarest of all cat species and probably the most endangered carnivore in Europe. What caused their decline? The loss of their main food source, rabbits. In the 1950s, a doctor released a disease called myxomatosis to control the rabbit population in his garden. It worked too well, and the rabbit population was almost wiped out. Ironically, conservationists are now breeding rabbits, vaccinating them against the disease, and releasing them into the wild to replenish the wild rabbit populations and help feed the lynx.