A lynx in lausitz – that was a small sensation for nature conservationists in april. Because the next roughest lynx occurrences are far away and the animal is usually not a long-distance runner.
For world cat day on 8. August the balance sheet on the existence of the wild velvet paws is nevertheless rather mixed. According to the german league for the environment and conservation (BUND), there are only 77 proven lynx in the whole of germany. The populations of the european wildcat have developed better. With an estimated 7000 to 10.000 animals, this cat is still one of the endangered species, the federation said. 100 years ago, the tabby forest dwellers with the curly tail were almost extinct.
"Wild cats urgently need better protection," demands BUND wildlife expert christiane bohn. "The fragmentation of their habitat by roads, settlements and cleared agricultural land is the main problem today."Although there are new wildcat records in the luneburg heath, the leipzig floodplain forest, and some bavarian forests, the lynx is still a rare species. In the extreme north and the entire northeast of germany, however, the animals are still lacking across the board. With green corridors of shrubs and trees, nature conservationists want to further connect forests with each other. A green network for wildlife migration is to be created in the long term.
The lausitz lynx with its striking brush ears is rather a lonely harbinger of this idea. The animal with the ear tag originates from the harz mountains. It is unlikely, however, that the male will find a mate in lausitz. Lynxes are europe’s largest wild cats – but rare. The next known population lives only in eastern poland again.
The fact that the lausitz lynx survived its long migration borders on a minor miracle for environmentalists. Highways and busy federal roads are considered killers. Speed limits and crossing aids could prevent death on the road, but enforcing them is a long process – and wildlife bans are expensive. Illegal shooting is an additional danger.
Lynx and wild cats, like wolves, represent biodiversity in landscapes threatened by intensive agriculture, urban sprawl and ever-increasing traffic. Of all places, the former inner german border strip serves as a refuge for lynxes and other endangered species – because they remained undisturbed there for decades.