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Programa de Conservación Ex-situ del Lince Ibérico

If you’ve never come across an Iberian lynx, that could be because there were, at one point, only 94 left in the world. These guys live on the Iberian peninsula, have weird little beard manes and pointy ears, and really like to eat rabbits. They were close to experiencing, the Guardian reported in 2002, “the first feline extinction since prehistoric times.”

But conservationists tried a whole bunch of techniques to keep them going. They bred lynxes in captivity, harvested the eggs of one female lynx just in case, convinced hunters they’d be better off if they let lynx populations thrive, and got different groups of lynxes to mix their genes. And now, the Guardian reports, the Iberian lynx might not be doomed. There are 312 of them out there — triple what there were just a few years ago.

It only took millions of Euros and one of the best conservation programs in Europe. And you know what? It was worth it, because these guys are cool cats.

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José María Alvarez