LIFE Project Conservation and Reintroduction of the Iberian Lynx in Andalusia

Sevilla, Spain

LIFE Project Conservation and Reintroduction of the Iberian Lynx in Andalusia

Sevilla, Spain

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Lopez G.,LIFE Project Conservation and Reintroduction of the Iberian Lynx in Andalusia | Lopez-Parra M.,LIFE Project Conservation and Reintroduction of the Iberian Lynx in Andalusia | Garrote G.,LIFE Project Conservation and Reintroduction of the Iberian Lynx in Andalusia | Fernandez L.,LIFE Project Conservation and Reintroduction of the Iberian Lynx in Andalusia | And 6 more authors.
European Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2014

The conservation of endangered species requires accurate data, and knowledge of cause-specific mortality rates is one of the most important issues. In recent years, conservation programs for the critically endangered Iberian lynx Lynx pardinus have been developed on the basis of mortality data derived 30 years ago from the small Doñana population. Thus, there is an urgent need for an update of mortality rates and causes in both populations (Sierra Morena and Doñana). Here we use radio-tracking information from the whole range of the Iberian lynx to quantify mortality rates and identify their causes. Between 2006 and 2011, we radio-tagged 78 Iberian lynxes from its two remaining populations (39 from Sierra Morena and 39 from Doñana). Mortality events were evaluated to identify causes, and cause-specific annual mortality rates (AMR) were obtained using the nonparametric cumulative incidence function estimator. Overall, AMR was estimated at 0.16 ± 0.05 (0.19 ± 0.09 in Sierra Morena and 0.12 ± 0.07 in Doñana). Disease was the main cause of mortality both for the whole population and the Doñana population. Poaching was the main cause of mortality in Sierra Morena. Our results suggest that the best strategy for conserving this species is to focus action on decreasing the fatal effect of disease and poaching. Given the possible existence of an underlying inbreeding-mediated immunosuppression, genetic management aimed at increasing the genetic diversity of this population is also recommended. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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