The announcement was made on Tuesday in Switzerland, with conservationists dropping its rating one lower, to ‘in danger’.
Representatives for the IUCN announced the “fantastic news”, saying it is “excellent proof that conservation actions really work.”
After thirteen years of “great conservation efforts” and a fresh look at the 77,340 species that make up the IUCN’s ‘red list’, the decision was made to downgrade the Iberian Lynx to a lower level of danger, according to the ‘Life+Iberlince’ programme.
The lynx was studied by two scientists who concluded that, after six decades of decline, there was a steady increase in its population between 2002 and 2012 following extensive work in Portugal and Spain.
During that period, the number of reproductive females soared to 97 from just 27. The whole population of mature individuals has now reached 156.
However, the international organisation has said that the work is not yet finished and that conservation efforts must continue to ensure future expansion and population growth of the species.
The recovery of the historical range of the Iberian lynx in Spain and Portugal began with the ‘Life + Iberlince’ (2011/2016) programme, which involves a total of 19 institutions.
The programme has stressed it is essential to promote a national plan that prevents the running over of Iberian lynx, which is now listed as the leading cause of death of the animals.
A recent report in the Guardian highlighted how conservation efforts to save the iconic spotted cat “are being undermined as record numbers are getting killed in car collisions.”
Last year a record 22 lynxes died after being hit by cars, up from just two in 2008, the report states, and stresses that, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature, cars are “the greatest threat for the future of the lynx.”