Occupying most of the Iberian Peninsula, Spain borders Portugal and has both a Mediterranean and Atlantic coastline. Its geography is comprised of mountains, deserts and rivers, allowing suitable habitats for a variety of animals. However, many native and non-native species living in Spain are considered vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. The reasons for their decline are caused by hunting, fishing, habitat loss, disease and water pollution.
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The European Mink (Mustela lutreola) became an endangered species as of 1994 and, as of 2004, is found in seven other countries besides Spain. The mink is a nocturnal, solitary animal that is found in vegetated creeks, lakes and rivers. It has webbed feet designed for hunting underwater. Minks consume insects, small mammals, frogs, crabs, fish and mollusks. The European Mink is a smaller species than the American Mink, weighing up to 0.726 Kilogram (740 grams). According to AnimalInfo.org, there were an estimated 100 to 1,000 animals of this species left in Western Europe, with the populations in Spain and France rapidly declining.
Mediterranean Monk Seal
The Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus) is listed as critically endangered as of 2006 and is one of the world's rarest animals. Small populations of this species are found in 16 countries other than Spain, as of 2006, and the animal is possibly extinct in six additional countries. The Mediterranean Monk Seal lives in coastal waters and is typically 8 feet and 2 inches, or 240 centimetres, long. It is active during the day and feeds on an array of fish and cephalopods (marine mollusks). It is the only pinniped (seal or of the seal lion family) to live in warm, subtropical oceans.
The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is another one of the rarest animals in the world, and is rated as the most endangered cat species in the world as of 1998, according to AnimalInfo.org. It is only found in Spain and Portugal, with numbers estimated at less than 120 total as of 2006. The Iberian lynx is a nocturnal cat, with an average weight of between 20 to 30 pounds (9 to 13 kilograms) and a length of between 34 and 43 feet (85 to 110 centimetres). It almost exclusively feeds on European rabbits, but might also consume ducks, red deer fawns and fallow deer. It travels an average distance of 4.3 miles (7 kilometres) a day.
North Atlantic Right Whale
North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) is also considered one of the world's most endangered species, with an estimated 350 left on Earth, as of 2004. It is found in the northwest and western central parts of the Atlantic Ocean and within 14 countries other than Spain. They weigh up to 220,000 pounds (100,000 kilograms) and measure up to 56 feet long (17 meters. They feed primarily on small marine crustaceans. The word "right" in the name North Atlantic Right Whale was chosen because the species is the best whale to hunt, as they are slow, live in temperate waters, float when killed and yield high levels of oil.
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