Making way for the lynx
Lithe and skillful, the lynx is a shy, lone hunter. If it is to survive in Europe and if the population is to be undisturbed enough to increase in number, intensive protection measures will be required. Together with internationally recognised lynx experts and selected partners in the particular countries EuroNatur is doing all it can to protect lynxes in Europe.
What are the threats to lynxes in Europe?
The lynx is in fact flexible as regards its habitat but two factors are essential for its survival: unbroken stretches of country, i.e. not transected by roads, and sufficient prey. Both have become rare in Europe. And strict protection status of the lynx does not help it and its prey when the poachers come out hunting.
Which are the regions in which EuroNatur is supporting the campaign for lynxes?
An important focus of our work is the southwest of the Balkans. We estimate there are fewer than 35 Balkan lynxes left here - the Balkan lynx is a subspecies of the Eurasian lynx and also one of the rarest cats on earth. It is probable that the last intact habitats for the Balkan lynx are not solely to be found in the species-rich forests of Macedonia: the course of the Green Belt between Albania and Macedonia and between Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo may also be offering habitats to the lynx and we are working for its protection in Germany and Austria, too.
What actions is EuroNatur taking to protect the lynx in Europe?
- Preserving what is left: We are campaigning to preserve the few remaining lynx populations with chances of survival.
- Securing a food supply: the protection of lynxes also requires us to make their prey an essential element in our projects
- Preserving habitats: We are working on a further strengthening of the Balkan Green Belt biotope network as a lifeline and habitat for the lynx. Above all in the mountainous border regions of Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo we are driving forward the designation of trans-boundary conservation areas. With this step we are not only working to preserve habitats for the lynx but also the precious ecological diversity special to these areas.
- Creating valuable databases: the systematic recording of the lynx population forms the foundation for successful protection measures.
- Connecting populations: to do justice to the natural range of the lynx it is not enough to preserve existing habitats. The habitats need to be linked up. By maintaining wildlife corridors we enable genetic exchange between lynx populations.
- Building bridges: The network of human road and rail systems will soon also sever the network of paths along which the lynx roams in the last remaining large-area, contiguous forests of Europe. We are working on solutions for keeping the impacts of landscape fragmentation on wildlife as small as possible.
- Dealing with the potential for conflicts before they occur: we are putting our energies into creating the conditions needed for lynxes to spread in Europe and are preparing the local inhabitants for their return, among other things by drafting management plans, organizing educational outreach and counselling livestock holders. etc.
- Fighting poaching: by creating an ever closer-knit web of experts and cooperation partners we are contributing to the protection of lynxes against illegal hunting.
- Creating perspectives – for Lynx and Man: we are working in the lynx habitats in the Balkans to ensure a sustainable development of the region. It is our task to give the people living here perspectives for their livelihoods which are in harmony with nature.
EuroNatur projects for the protection of lynxes in Europe
Portrait of the Eurasian lynx - facts and figures
Balkan lynx – the last few of its kind
Balkan Lynx Recovery Programme