Early development and growth in captive-born Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus)

Javier Yerga, Javier Calzada, Xavier Manteca, Astrid Vargas, Antonio Rivas

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6 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Knowledge on the growth and early development patterns of endangered species can become a useful conservation tool because it may allow detecting anomalous growth in newborns, both in captivity breeding and in the wild. We studied the growth and early development of 40 Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) cubs belonging to 21 litters born in captivity between 2005 and 2012 at "El Acebuche" Iberian Lynx Breeding Centre. This is the first study on growth in this critically endangered species. The Iberian lynx cubs were not fully developed at birth. During the first 3 weeks of life, cubs underwent many of the physical changes that allowed them to improve their interaction with the environment, such as the opening of eye and auditory channels, teeth eruptions, and the ability to walk. When the cubs were 1 month old, they were ready to leave the den and develop new behaviors such as the exploration of their environment, play, or hunt. Three different models had been fitted to the body mass growth of the Iberian lynx. The von Bertalanffy curve provided the best fit. The asymptotic adult mass was the only parameter that differed between males and females (males being 8% larger), due to the higher growth rate of males. The adult weight of hand-reared cubs (i.e., those abandoned at born) did not differ from that of cubs reared by their mothers. Both growth and development showed differences from other lynx species. Zoo Biol. 33:381-387, 2014.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-387
JournalZoo Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Early development
  • Growth
  • Iberian lynx
  • Rearing method
  • Sex


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