The Eurasian lynx is the largest feline predator in Europe, which still plays an important role in the forest fauna communities of the Carpathian Mountains' remote forests. The close to one meter long lynx weighs up to 25 kg. Its range extended over most of our continent, even the plains, up to the 19th century. Decreasing forest areas, transformation of forests and the relentless hunting of the lynx - harmless to man and crucial from the perspective of conservation - drove the species to extinction in several countries. Not a single specimen was seen (and brought down) between 1915 and 1983, thus it was added to the missing species list.
The lynx is a fast and efficient predator which prevents the proliferation of forest herbivores (roe, red deer, mouflon, chamois). Its "job" is supported by its limbs, which are equally suitable for sprinting and jumping, and make the lynx readily recognisable, just like its short tail and tufted ears. Their broad paws allow easy movement in snow, while the characteristic "sideburns" enhance their hearing, since it amplifies even the slightest noises. Without hunting lynxes, the number of herbivores starts to grow rapidly in the forest. This results in vegetation being chewed almost fully bear, which not only inhibits forest regeneration, but also deteriorates conditions of life for herbaceous flora and the fauna living on that. The lynx also eliminate unfit game, resulting in a better maintained state of wildlife stock health.
The appearance of the Eurasian lynx in the Hungarian section of the Carpathian Mountains, namely in the North Hungarian Range is due to hunting restrictions in Slovakia, from where a few members of the lynx population wandered farther. Unfortunately, no expansive areas of "wilderness" essential for the lynx can be found in Hungary, which would protect it from the disturbances of farming and tourism. The illegal hunting of this highly protected feline also contributes to the fact that the number of this species has not exceeded 10-15 individuals during the past twenty-five years.
After WWF Hungary's previous programs aiming to raise awareness and knowledge about large predators, the primary goal now is to create suitable habitats to facilitate the re-naturalisation of lynxes. Our goal is to have extensive and undisturbed forest areas in Hungary which are suitable for the lynx. The return of the lynx may result in the improved situation of not just one, but hundreds of forest animals and plants, which are bound to forests in their natural state.
We are currently cooperating with researchers from Aggtelek National Park, who have been monitoring the presence of lynx in Hungary for several years. Purchasing appropriate tracking equipment is one of the key objectives, since the traditional tracking only allows observing lynx in winter. Radio telemetry collars, thermal cameras and motion sensor cameras would help our work significantly. Marking some individuals would also be important because this would allow for the detection of lynx poaching and this in turn could reduce such unlawful activities. We regularly receive news from national park specialists about the lynx observation, which we share with our readers on our website. We hope that more publicity will direct attention to the importance of this species protection.
Why don't you support our species protection program by adopting a lynx? For details please click here.