The Iberian Lynx
is a large wild cat weighing some 10-13 kilos (22-28.6 lbs) with a heavily spotted browny grey coat, tufty looking ears and a short stumpy tail. Standing at around 88-100 centimetres in height (34-39 inches) it is one of the most endangered species in the world. In Spain the WWF in 2002 estimated that there were only 100 Lynx left in the whole Iberian Peninsular. Efforts coordinated between the WWF, the European Union and the Medio Ambiente in Spain have now seen these figures raise to around 500 by recent estimations.
Embalse de Forata, Valencia
is an area located within the municipal of Yatova some 45 minutes from the city of Valencia covering some 231 hectares of land. The area is categorised by both stunning mountains and forestry as well as vast amounts of open land. the River Júcar which spans a distance of 509 kilometres (316 miles) runs through the area. The area offers a perfect habitat for the Lynx which predominately lives on wild rabbits and prefers a mixture of open scrub land and dense forest. However,the latest confirmed sightings of the Iberian Lynx are in Barcelona to the North and Andalucia to the South. Some speculation has erupted whether the Lynx is present in Teruel (to the North of the Valencian Community) but no evidence has been put forward as of yet that they Lynx is present in the Valencian area.
The Surrounding Area
Living this remotely with very few neighbours offers the chance to acquaint yourself with the varying nature in the area. Rabbits, partridge, eagles, vultures, the Spanish Ibex and wild boar are all common visitors to the farm and usually pass through without incident. Many a night does the dog bark or the geese gaggle prompting me to investigate – more to ensure my chickens and geese are safely snuggled up in bed and safe more than thinking anything is wrong. Many a time as a large eagle owl swoop off or a herd of boar run off with their babies prompting a lovely ‘aaawww’ from me as I hurry back to the warmth of my bed from my Pyjama clad investigations. However, something has been disturbing me these recent weeks and I’ve most certainly got an unknown visitor.
As usual it began with the same routine. The dog barked the geese began to hiss and flap about from their night pen. I got up to peer through the window expecting to see a fox or another nocturnal visitor that passes through regularly and to decide if I needed to venture out to my chicken pen. A loud screech coming from just a short distance away made me jump. My cat came hurtling itself across the field and flung itself through the window in a blind panic. I listened again, and determined it was a completely unknown noise much like this
Things eventually quietened down. I fell back asleep but this same routine and noise has been happening all too regularly. After deciding to investigate during daylight hours I came across some suspicious looking tracks. Being used to seeing the prints of the ibex, foxes and boar, these stood out in stark contrast and prompted an investigation to aid identification.
Confirmed Tracks of the Iberian Lynx
The Tracks Close to the Farm
I have many more photographs if anyone is interested in seeing them just send me a message with your email address and I’ll forward them on. In the meantime, if anyone has any ideas if this print belongs to a different type of animal I’d be pleased to hear your ideas.