New blood for lynxes on the Balkans

Three lynxes caught by camera trap in Albania and Macedonia

On the catwalk: The photo of the camera trap shows a very rare Balkan lynx in the Albanian Alps. © PPNEA
Nightly drink: This Balkan lynx leads her offspring to a watering hole in the Macedonian Jablanica Mountains. © MES

Conservationists in Albania and Macedonia are overjoyed: At the beginning of November, lynxes were sighted almost at the same time in the two countries, namely in the Albanian Alps and the area of Jablanica in Macedonia. The sighting in Macedonia is especially pleasing: A camera trap there caught a female and her offspring on tape. “These are very good news”, says EuroNatur project manager Mareike Brix. Up to now, there was no significant proof of a lynx population. A female lynx usually settles when having pups – the photos are a first sign of a long-lasting presence of lynxes in this region of the Albanian and Macedonian border. “Let us hope the young pups will remain in Jablanica once they’re fully-grown”, says Gjorge Ivanov from the Macedonian Ecological Society (MES), the local partnering organisation of EuroNatur.

Beyond the border and further north, Bledi Hoxha from the Albanian nature protection organisation PPNEA, is delighted about the second detection of a lynx in the Albanian Alps. The lynx was photographed in the Nikaj-Mertur area, in the southern parts of the Albanian Alps. After a field guide managed to take a picture of a lynx in the surrounding area in 2014, camera traps were set up in May and June this year all over the area – as lynxes can cover a long distance. At the beginning of November, the cameras were evaluated. “The results were fantastic”, said Bledi Hoxha.

Studying lynxes with the help of camera traps is an essential part of the Balkan lynx project by EuroNatur und their partnering organisations KORA (Switzerland), PPNEA and MES on site. Balkan lynxes are in acute danger of extinction; EuroNatur project manager Mareike Brix believes that there are less than 50 Balkan lynxes left overall. Securing the survival of lynxes and protecting their last habitats is one of the core areas of EuroNatur’s work.

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