Friday 11 November 2022

For how long do Iberian lynx live?

The excellent book Wild Cats of the World states this about the Iberian lynx lifespan: "There is little information on the longevity of Iberian lynx, although one skull in the collection of the Estación Biológica de Doñana was estimated from counts of tooth annuli (annual rings, like those of a tree) to be 14 years old."

This Iberian lynx lives for 20 years, a record
This Iberian lynx lives for 20 years, a record it is believed.

The book was published in 2002. The stated 14 years of age as a likely and normal maximum lifespan and probably still holds true today. Wikipedia state the average age as 13 years.

Occasionally, and very exceptionally Iberian lynx lifespans can be as long as 20 years as is the case of Aura, who is in the news today as giving birth to more than 900 Iberian lynxes according to the reports. Longevity as you can imagine is greatly enhanced in captivity. The bobcat (part of the same genus as the lynx) also has a long lifespan and is one of the longest lives wild cat species.

Aura was born when there were 94 Iberian lynxes remaining on the planet and it was the most endangered wild cat species. That was when conservation of the Iberian lynx wasn't really seriously on the radar but since then a lot of work has been done to protect this rarest of wild cat species and their numbers have grown.

Each Iberian lynx cost €169,000 to create

Back in the day few Iberian Lynx died of natural causes. About three quarters of all lynx mortality was attributable to human-related activities such as trapping, snaring, poisoning, poaching, shooting and such other countryside activities.

There was even illegal trapping in the above-mentioned national park. Things have changed. Aura was described as a grumpy, strong-willed Iberian lynx. Another reason for the then dire endangerment of this species was a loss of rabbits, the main prey of the Iberian lynx to haemorrhagic disease.

She lived the last part of her life in captivity I guess in order to protect her which may account at least in part for her longevity.

Iberian lynx – comprehensive treatise focusing on conservation 2022

If you like to read more about the Iberian lynx, then please click on the above link which takes you to a full page on the species.

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