Betis, the longest running Iberian lynx, is looking for a place to die | Iberian Lynx

At the turn of the millennium, Iberian lynxes were almost extinct: there were about 100 in Portugal and Spain. It was shortly after this troubled period for lynxes that Betis, a female Iberian lynx born in 2005 in the Andalusian region of Jaén, Spain. Now, the news the countrythe old Betis is looking for a place to die.

“At least he will die where he chose, a very beautiful area of ​​olive groves with patches of Mediterranean hills on the banks of the Guarrizas river”, he explained to the country the Maribel García-Tardío technique, which is part of the lynx recovery program in the Andalusia region. According to the Spanish newspaper, it is the female Iberian lynx that has been free for the longest time since the recovery program for this species began. species threatened.

For now, the female Iberian lynx (lynx pardinus) is doing well, despite having been in poor physical condition and no longer reproducing or interacting with other lynxes.

Betis had her first calf in 2008 and, in all, had 16 children until 2017 – which is thought to be the year of her last birth. “It was a female that lived peacefully and happily”, considers technician Maribel, quoted by the Spanish newspaper.

This lynx did not have a device to be located from a distance, as with other lynxes (especially those recently released into the wild), so its absence last year raised fears that it might have already died. But it reappeared in September, despite being in poor condition. It was rescued, treated and returned to nature. “It didn’t make sense for him to remain in captivity,” explained Maribel García-Tardío. Returning to nature, “it could end up the same way it always lived”.

As explained by the country, this female has now entered the phase in which she has lost her ability to reproduce and ends up being removed from her territories by pressure from other lynxes. Although there are other lynxes in the vicinity, the abundance of wild rabbits (one of the preferred prey of the Iberian lynxes), makes the presence of the older female seem to be being tolerated.

A species in recovery

Female Iberian lynxes can live between 14 and 16 years – and even longer if they live in captivity, as the female did. Aurawhich died recently and will reach 20 years of age – and males tend to live 12 to 14 years.

As in Portugal, Spain has a recovery and reinsertion program for the Iberian lynx in the wild. Betis was born when that program was still in an embryonic phase, says the the countryand there were few specimens of Iberian lynx in the Jándula valley, where it was born.

A report from December reported that there were currently around 522 Iberian lynxes in Andalusia. To no longer be classified as “endangered”, the Iberian lynx population would need to have more than 3000 lynxes, including 750 fertile females, according to the nature conservation group WWF.

Almost without hesitation, the two lynxes (one in each cage) ran towards freedom.
Daniel Rocha

Conservation efforts around this species mean that there are now more than 1300 Iberian lynxes in the Iberian Peninsula, with 15% of them living in Portugal. In 2021 alone, 70 cubs were born on national soil and 430 in Spain.

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