Massive clearance of marquis vegetation in the 1940s led to the disappearance of the Iberian, or Spanish, lynx from much of its range. The decline of rabbits due to myxomatosis and other diseases greatly reduced the available prey. Rapid economic development in Spain led to many dams, highways and railways being built; most scrublands were converted to agriculture. Plantations of pines and eucalyptus has resulted in a drastic reduction in potential lynx habitat. Previously hunted for the pelt and as a perceived predator of livestock.
Steel leg traps set for rabbits and foxes are responsible for over half of lynx killed. In the DoÃ±ana area many lynx are run over by cars. Only two per cent of the total area of Spain now provides suitable lynx breeding range and it can only be found in and around the Cota DoÃ±ana reserve in the south of Spain (where it is estimated there are 30-40 animals) and in very isolated parts of Portugal. Although the animal is protected in the reserve it is still legal to hunt it elsewhere.
The Iberian lynx occurs in fragmented populations spread mainly over the southern half of Spain, though in small numbers throughout. It rivals the Iriomote cat for the title of the world's most endangered cat.
The IUCN Red List considers Lynx pardinus as "Endangered". CITES lists the Spanish lynx as "Appendix 1".