Longest living Iberian lynx has died in Doñana nature park

by Lorraine Williamson
Iberian lynx

Female Iberian lynx Aura, the third lynx to be included in the Ex-situ Conservation Programme, died on 27 October in southern Spain’s Doñana Nature Park (Huelva). Aura lived to be 20 years old, making her the longest-lived Iberian lynx recorded so far. 

Ex-situ, the programme dedicated to lynx conservation, announced this on social media. Ex-situ points out that when Aura was born in 2002, the lynx was in a “critical” condition. At that time, there were fewer than 100 lynxes left in Spain and the species was in danger of extinction. Recovery of the lynx population has taken years of intensive work. It has also taken millions of euros of investment in various conservation programmes. Now, 20 years after the census back then, there are over 1,300 wild Iberian lynx living. 

Aura’s genes have been passed down from generation to generation. Thanks to her contribution, the lynx population has increased by more than 900 individuals (in captivity and in the wild). Together with the male Eucalyptus, Aura was the main protagonist of the El Acebuche breeding centre. 

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Aura was born in Doñana, and when she was three weeks old, she was selected as the founder of the captive breeding programme. She lived in the Jerez zoo when she was a cub weighing just 700 grams. Together with her sister, she was transferred to the El Acebuche breeding centre. There, she gave birth to as many as 14 cubs over the course of her life. In 2018, Aura was removed from the breeding programme to become an ambassador for the species at the El Acebuche visitor centre. 

Also read: Record numbers of Iberian lynx in Spain

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