Linking Lynx

Safeguarding the Carpathian Lynx Metapopulation

We are a network of experts working on the conservation, monitoring and management of the Carpathian lynx. The long-term goal of the Linking Lynx network is to support the creation of a viable metapopulation of Carpathian lynx in Europe – spanning from the Carpathian Mountains to the Jura, Western Alps and the Dinaric Mountains.

© Laurent Geslin © Laurent Geslin

© Laurent Geslin

Working Groups

The Linking Lynx network unites six working groups (sourcing, genetics, health, policy, monitoring & public engagement), as well as planned and ongoing reintroduction and reinforcement projects. A Steering Committee – consisting of the coordinators of each working group and an overall Linking Lynx coordinator – is responsible for agenda setting, cooperation between the working groups and joint communication. Further tasks of the Steering Committee include the organisation of regular Linking Lynx conferences and definition of the funding priorities within working groups.

Sourcing Working Group

The Sourcing Working Group aims to coordinate the use of lynx from different sources such as ex-situ bred lynx, wild captures or orphaned lynx for reintroduction and reinforcement projects.

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Genetics Working Group: CElynx Consortium

CElynx is a consortium of scientific institutions working on a harmonized genetic monitoring of Central European lynx populations.

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Health Working Group

The Health Working Group unites experts with different backgrounds dedicated to improving all aspects of lynx health.

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Policy Working Group

The Policy Working Group serves as a «clearing house» linking different working levels, from field work, monitoring and research to regional and national administration, authorities and policy makers.  

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Public Engagement Working Group

The Public Engagement Working Group formalises guidelines for engaging with people, interest groups and key stakeholders.

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Monitoring Working Group

Knowledge of the status and distribution of the Carpathian lynx is crucial for management implications and decision making. This group aims to develop the foundation for monitoring the Carpathian lynx in its natural realm.

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© LIFE Lynx Project

What Is Linking Lynx?

We are a network of experts working on the conservation, monitoring and management of the Carpathian lynx. The network formed in response to the recommendations made during the first European lynx conservation meeting in Bonn in 2019. These recommendations were subsequently adopted by the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention as recommendation No. 204 (Council of Europe 2019). During a follow-up meeting in the Harz mountains in 2023, lynx experts working on Carpathian lynx conservation met again and formed the «Linking Lynx» network.

Main Goal

The long-term goal is to connect existing populations and create a viable Carpathian lynx metapopulation spanning from the Carpathian Mountains to the Jura and Western Alps, including the German low mountain ranges and part of the Dinaric Mountains. To reach this goal, a transboundary conservation strategy for the lynx in the Carpathian Mountains, further reintroductions, and reinforcement of genetically impoverished populations are needed. To meet the demand for lynx needed for reintroductions while avoiding over-exploitation of the wild source populations, cooperation with the EAZA captive breeding programme is crucial.

Where Do Lynx Live in Europe?

Europe is home to three genetically well-defined subspecies of Eurasian lynx recognised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) Cat Specialist Group:

  • Northern lynx (Lynx lynx) in northern Europe  
  • Carpathian Lynx (Lynx carpathicus) in East and Central Europe
  • Balkan Lynx (Lynx balcanicus) in the south-western Balkans

Main Threats for European Lynx

Even though the Eurasian lynx is not endangered over its entire range, some local populations are under threat. In Western and Central Europe, where the species was extinct by the end of the 19th century, the Carpathian lynx subspecies has been used to create several reintroduced populations. All of these reintroduced populations are still small and isolated with limited genetic exchange. There are also conservation concerns for the autochthonous source population in the Carpathian Mountains. Population numbers have been overestimated leading to conflicts with human interests. Further concerns are related to habitat quality and connectivity.

News Linking Lynx

© Max Kesberger© Max Kesberger

© Max Kesberger

Translocation

Species conservation: Lynx reintroduction in the Thuringian Forest
Long-term project starts with German-Romanian animals: - Frieda from Hütscheroda and Viorel from the Carpathians released into the wild - Two more lynx to follow in summer - Milestone in the reintroduction in Germany and Central Europe
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© Archiv Naturschutz LfULG, Alexander Sommer© Archiv Naturschutz LfULG, Alexander Sommer

© Archiv Naturschutz LfULG, Alexander Sommer

Translocation

RElynx Saxony: Third lynx released into the wild - Alva has arrived in the Ore Mountains
Since Maundy Thursday, there are no longer two lynxes sneaking through Saxony's forests, but three: Alva the cat has been released near Eibenstock as part of the «RELynx Saxony» project.
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© Archiv Naturschutz LfULG, Alexander Sommer© Archiv Naturschutz LfULG, Alexander Sommer

© Archiv Naturschutz LfULG, Alexander Sommer

Translocation

RElynx Saxony: Juno and Nova - the first lynxes have been reintroduced into the wild
Perhaps a piece of history was written here: On 18 March 2024, the first two lynxes, Juno the male and Nova the female, were released into the wild in the western Ore Mountains as part of the «RELynx Sachsen» project. More animals are to follow and establish a new lynx population in Saxony.
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© Zoo Karlsruhe© Zoo Karlsruhe

© Zoo Karlsruhe

New Coordination Enclosure

Karlsruhe Zoo builds coordination enclosure for lynx reintroduction at Oberwald Zoo
Preparing for the wild with minimal human contact / Important building block for future population support
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