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The Daily Telegraph - Travel - - COVER STORY -

Europe’s rarest cat

Few peo­ple re­alise that a crit­i­cally en­dan­gered fe­line lives just a morn­ing’s drive from the Costa del Sol. The Ibe­rian lynx – an ele­gant, fox-sized cat with tufted ears – is con­fined to the wildest cor­ners of An­dalu­cia, in­clud­ing An­du­jar and Doñana Na­tional Parks, where it stalks the scrubby hill­sides for rab­bits.

Ex­pert guides stake out the cats’ favourite haunts and fol­low up tracks and signs. Lynx sa­faris typ­i­cally spend sev­eral days search­ing for the cats, while en­joy­ing the tra­di­tional rus­tic hos­pi­tal­ity of the lo­cal vil­lages.

En­coun­ters are rea­son­ably re­li­able, but with wild land­scapes and a wealth of other wildlife – from wild boars to Span­ish im­pe­rial ea­gles – a great trip does not hinge on lynxes alone. Top tip Peak lynx sea­son is Oc­to­berMarch; the an­i­mals are more vis­i­ble in win­ter. How to book Wildlife World­wide (01962 302 086; wildlife­world­wide. com) of­fers the eight-day Ibe­rian Lynx Quest from £1,495 per per­son shar­ing,

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