European Lynx – a new visitor of two national parks

2011 - 02 - 22

Some good news has come from Bohemian Switzerland, a national park which is situated in the northwest of the Czech Republic. A lynx was seen in this area. Its presence was captured by a photographic trap.

For the staff of the national park it was the first direct evidence that the lynx is indeed inhabiting this location. In the past it had left its footprints in the snow, claw marks on the trees or deer that fell prey. However, any direct evidence had yet been missing.

The lynx was obviously lured to this area by the the tranquility of the place which is typical for winter season. The experts assume that in the summer this big cat will relocate to some other location with less tourism, for example to a former military area in Saxony.

It had been a long time since a lynx was seen in the locality. Similarly to other large carnivores in Central Europe, the lynx had been hunted and almost exterminated in the past centuries. In 2009 the lynx track was spotted in the Krkonose Mountains National Park. Unfortunately, no more evidence that would indicate the presence of a lynx has been found since then. Presently, the nearest population of this big cat is living on the borders of the Czech Republic and Bavaria. However, it belongs to the smaller and less endangered populations in Europe.

The most of these animals currently live in the Carpathians (2200 lynx), Scandinavia (2500 lynx), and the Baltic States including some parts of Ukraine and Poland (2000 lynx). But populations in other parts of Europe are substantially smaller and many of them are endangered.

Among them are the populations in the Czech Republic. In the past twenty years the poachers have killed up to five hundred lynx. Prevalence of poaching is proven by the reports from Sumava National Park. Out of fourteen lynx which were tagged with transmitters, eight of them were most likely killed by poachers. “The lynx belongs to the most beautiful predators in Europe. It is great to discover that it is now returning to the region where, decades ago, it was exterminated. But if the authorities managed to reduce the degree of illegal hunting, the population of the lynx could recover considerably faster”, says Dalibor Dostal, the director of the European Wildlife conservation organization.

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