Lynxes, a relic of wilderness

With the lynx, volunteers in Postaja finished learning about the three big carnivores of Europe. Lynxes are a genus belonging to the family of felines and contrary to the thought that lynxes are simply a big cat they are more related with tigers. Nowadays in the world live four species of lynx. Canadian lynxes (Lynx canadiensis) live in the forests of Alaska and Canada and their hair is light and long to protect from the cold. Eurasian lynx (L. lynx) live in the forests of Europe, Siberia and South and East of Asia. Eurasian lynx is almost extinct in Western Europe and only left a few populations in mountainous areas of Italy, France and Balkans. The red lynx or Bobcat (L. rufus) inhabit in Norteamerica from the South of Canada to the North of Mexico. Iberian lynx (L. pardinus) inhabit Iberian Peninsula and only a few populations remain in the Southweast of Spain. The size of the lynxes is an adaptation to their environment: bigger bodies lose less heat than smaller. As an example Eurasian lynx adapted to colder winters weight between 18 to 30 kg, the Iberian lynx weights around 12 kg, while the red lynx around 6 kg. Contrary to wolves lynxes are solitary animals, but sometimes they meet in little groups to travel and hunt. Lynxes only eat meat and they have an exquisite taste, they feed only in certain animals. Due to the fragmentation of their specific habitat and the reduction of their prey lynx is a fragile specie that should be preserved.

To illustrate lynx situation I talked about Iberian lynx to the rest of volunteers. Since the beginning of 20th century the populations and range of the Iberian lynx have been reduced. First it was the over hunting to obtain pelts that restricted their range to Southweast of Iberian Peninsula. Then the arrival of a rabbit disease from France made rabbit populations decrease almost to their disappearance. Because of the Iberian lynxes feed principally on rabbits they were on the edge of their extinction in the 90´s. But in 2001 with the LIFE project Iberian lynx populations started to recuperate. Reinforcement of populations to increase genetic diversity, recuperation of rabbit populations and reintroduction in areas where lynxes used to live are some of the actions developed in the project. The success of the project is the last chance for the survival of Iberian lynx. The situation of the Croatian lynxes is not better than in Spain. The remaining populations reach only 50 lynxes in the mountains. The principal threats of the populations are the fragmentation of the habitat and the lack of prey and as well as in Spain there is a Life Project for the recuperation of their populations. The protection of the lynx doesn’t affect only to them but also to the habitat and all the animals and plants that live in there. Lynxes as bears are a symbol of the last wild places that remain in Europe.

Distribution of the Lynx in the Iberian Peninsula (bellow Spain):

MapFor more information:

Watch the documentary “Spain´s last lynx”

Check this links:

About Iberian lynx: http://www.lifelince.org/
About lynx in Croatia: http://www.life-vuk.hr/ris/

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2 thoughts on “Lynxes, a relic of wilderness

  1. Hi, may be you find it interesting to hear that there have been seen and photographed a lynx in the south of Germany, in the Black Forest. It has been the first time since 2007! At least for those who know German, here the articel about in the local newspaper:
    (Besides I would like to remark, that I am always really impressed how busy you, the voluteers are: not only working practically, but theoretically as well! Wow!)

    “Erster Luchs seit sechs Jahren fotografiert. Luchs in Baden-Württemberg
    Stuttgart / dpa
    Erstmals seit 2007 ist in Baden-Württemberg wieder ein wildlebender Luchs nachgewiesen worden. Ein Autofahrer hat das Tier Mitte März im östlichen Südschwarzwald fotografiert, wie das Naturschutzministerium am Mittwoch mitteilte. Experten hätten die Bilder ausgewertet und bestätigt, dass es sich wirklich um einen Luchs handelte. “Wir haben damit seit sechs Jahren den ersten sicheren Nachweis für diese streng geschützte und scheue Katzenart in Baden-Württemberg”, sagte Minister Alexander Bonde (Grüne).
    Wo genau die Aufnahmen entstanden sind, gibt das Ministerium nicht bekannt, um das Tier zu schützen. Unklar ist derzeit noch, woher der fotografierte Luchs stammt. Er sei womöglich aus den Vogesen oder der Schweiz eingewandert. Der Nordluchs erreicht die Größe eines Schäferhundes und ist damit die größte europäische Katzenart.
    Schwäbische Zeitung 20.3.2013″

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