Lynx Projects

The Balkan lynx - the last of its kind

Protecting a rare cross-border commuter

The current range of the Balkan lynx (Lynx lynx balkanicus) largely corresponds with the line of the Balkan Green Belt which runs between Albania and North Macedonia as well as between Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo. Here, as part of the “Balkan Lynx Recovery Programme” (BLRP), EuroNatur is working with an international team to protect the lynx and its habitats. No one can say precisely how many Balkan lynx - a subspecies of the Eurasian lynx - still exist. These shy animals live an extremely secretive life. However, according to scientific estimates, it is likely that far fewer than 50 animals remain. As such, the Balkan lynx is one of the rarest cats on earth.

Balkan Lynx Recovery Programme

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Living under pressure

Three stuffed balkan lynx in Albanian restaurant

Stuffed balkan lynx in an Albanian restaurant.

© PPNEA

There are numerous threats to the Balkan lynx. The animal is facing a lack of sufficiently large and contiguous habitats due to the overuse of forests for firewood and timber production. This is also resulting in a shortage of prey, and the situation is being further exacerbated by the mostly illegal hunting of already diminished wildlife populations. However, the lynx too is frequently falling victim to poachers looking for rare trophies or who blame the predatory cat for the deaths of domestic animals. Only a very small number of local people are aware that the Balkan lynx is on the verge of extinction and is a protected species.

Newsletter BLRP (December 2022)

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Newsletter BLRP (August 2022)

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Newsletter BLRP (December 2021)

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Newsletter BLRP (June 2021)

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What EuroNatur and its partners are doing to protect the Balkan lynx and what we have been able to achieve together:

  • Creating a sound knowledge base: Reliable information on the habitat, distribution and prevalence of the Balkan lynx and its prey is scarce. We are funding the acquisition of camera traps that will provide valuable data on these secretive cats. In addition, we have been able to capture several lynx and fit them with transmitters. Since doing so, we have learned more about the territorial behaviour of these endangered animals and can provide concrete information about the habitats which therefore need to be protected.
     
  • Inspiring children: Thanks to an educational programme which started in 2015 and addresses the threats faced by the Balkan Lynx, more than 2,000 schoolchildren in North Macedonia had been reached by the end of 2018. To do this, our partners visited many schools, delivering clear and engaging presentations focusing on the reasons for the lynx’s endangered status. The educational campaign was a great success and has been extended to Albania and Kosovo.  
     
  • Increasing protection status: We were able to get the Balkan lynx recognised as a separate sub-species in 2015, and the animal has been placed on the Red List of endangered species. This will enable conservation programmes to be more effective. 

Partners: MES, PPNEA, ERA, Kora
Funding: Mava Foundation, EuroNatur donors and sponsors

 


Lynx in the Dinarides

New blood for endangered lynx

Conservation projects cannot not simply stop at national borders - a fact which is being very clearly demonstrated by the LIFE lynx project. The Dinarides lynx population extends across three countries: Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is small, genetically impoverished and its survival chances are slim. The LIFE Lynx project, funded by the European Union and supported by EuroNatur, aims to help replenish the gene pool of the lynx population in the Dinarides by introducing lynx from the Carpathian Mountains.

In order to do this, lynx are captured in Romania and Slovakia - where many of the cats still exist - and are then transported to Slovenia and Croatia. After acclimatising for several days in an outdoor enclosure, the lynx are released into their new habitat. As well as having its gene pool replenished, the previously isolated Dinarides population is to be connected with other lynx populations - in particular with those in the Alps.

LIFE Lynx Project

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What EuroNatur and its partners are doing to protect lynx in Central Eastern Europe and what we have been able to achieve together:

  • Releasing lynx into the wild: In May 2019, the first two lynx from the Carpathians were released into the Dinarides. Since then, more animals have followed (11 as of June 2021). The lynx have integrated wonderfully into their new habitat; they have occupied territories and have also produced offspring with native lynx on multiple occasions.
     
  • Bringing hunters on board: In Slovenia and Croatia, involving local hunters in the project is working very well. With their expertise and local knowledge, these important allies are playing an essential part in the success of the resettlement programme.

Partners: University of Zagreb, Slovenia Forest Service, Hunters Association of Slovenia, Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature, Conservation, Technical University of Zvolen, University of Ljubljana, Association Progetto Lince Italia, Karlovac University, Biom, ACDB, Italian Carabinieri special command unit for the protection of forests, the environment, and the agri-food sector   
Funding: EU, LIFE, EuroNatur donors and sponsors

 

Join in and help us!

Join the many people getting actively involved for the lynx in Europe. We are grateful for any donation or active contribution you can make! In doing so, you are supporting an independent and networked civil society in Europe, which is campaigning vigorously to protect Europe’s lynx. Please help us any way you can!

 

How you can help

Donation

Future needs nature. EuroNatur cares for it. Please help anyway you can. With your donation you will make an effective contribution to protect lynx in Europe.

Lynx sponsorship

Europe's lynx are persecuted and poached, their habitats plundered and destroyed. But we can do something about it! Support us in protecting the elegant brush-eared animals.

News

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Maya’s new necklace

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