Smile, please! First picture of Balkan Lynx in Albania

„At last!“ wrote Aleksandër Trajçe from Albania’s nature conservation association PPNEA in his email to EuroNatur. The reason for happiness was the blurred photo of a Balkan lynx taken by a photo trap in the mountainous north of Albania in the evening of March 26th.

Tufts of hair, tracks on the ground and reports from eyewitnesses have so far been the only evidence that Balkan lynxes still reside in Albania. The photo trap picture was analysed only a few days ago and now delivers the much-wanted proof. 

The Balkan lynx, a sub-species of the Eurasian lynx, is one of the rarest medium-sized wildcats in the world. The total number of these solitary animals amounts to just 100; their habitat being restricted to the south-west of the Balkans. 

In adjacent Macedonia, a photo trap caught a Balkan lynx in the beginning of 2008 for the first time. There have always been pictures since then proving the existence of the big cats in the nearly pristine forests of Macedonia. In March 2010, members of Macedonia’s EuroNatur partner MES and gamekeepers of the Mavrovo National Park even succeeded in catching a Balkan lynx; they measured it and equipped it with a GPS-transmitter round its neck. In the heavily over-cultivated Albania, however, experts only assumed that roughly 15 to 20 of these rare animals might live there. The lynx has been under strict protection there since 1969 though. 

“The fact that we now have a photo of a Balkan lynx alive in Albania is not only a great success but it is also an incentive for us to further strengthen the measures for the protection of lynxes and their habitats in Albania. Together with our partners, we will continue to put every effort into the designation of nature reserves across borders,” EuroNatur project leader Annette Spangenberg states. 

Read more about EuroNatur projects for the protection of Balkan lynxes.

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