Oldest Iriomote wildcat dies aged 15 years one month

Oldest Iriomote wildcat dies aged 15 years one month

Oldest Iriomote wildcat “Yon” taken on August 31, 2006 when he was healthy. (Photograph courtesy of the Iriomote Conservation Office.)

April 12, 2011. Ryukyu Shimpo.

Taketomi on Iriomote Island: “Yon,” a male Iriomote wildcat raised for about 14 years and eight months in the Iriomote Wildlife Conservation Center run by the Ministry of the Environment, died at 1:59pm on April 9. His estimated age of 15 years and one month is the longest confirmed age for his species. He led a full life, the equivalent of over 100 years of age for a human.

Yon was found after being hit by a car on the prefectural road in the Island. To heighten public awareness and for research purposes, he was then looked after in the Iriomote Center, because of the difficulty involved in reintroducing him to the wild. The only wildcat known to have survived such an accident, he then came close to death through illness in December 2010 but gradually recovered, before his condition deteriorated once again on April 5. His body was taken to the Agricultural Department of the Kagoshima University where an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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