Wild Sources

The resurgence of the Carpathian lynx population in the mid-20th century catalyzed major European conservation efforts. Today, the Sourcing Working Group ensures that these lynxes, central to wildlife restoration, are translocated sustainably and ethically.

© Technical University in Zvolen

The favourable population status of lynx in the Carpathians Mountains during the 1950s and 1960s sparked heightened interest among European zoological gardens in capturing wild lynxes for breeding and commercial ventures. These efforts, coupled with increasing global environmental awareness, laid the groundwork for the historical lynx reintroduction initiative in Western and Central Europe.

Altogether, 57% of all lynx translocated and released in past decades (historical programs) and 67% of those involved in the latest reintroduction / reinforcement efforts originated from the Carpathians. These efforts had no negative impact on the source lynx population in the Carpathians. Instead, collaborative efforts among forestry, hunting, and conservation sectors, along with official translocation programs in the Carpathians, serve as a model for sustainable lynx conservation in Europe.

Today, the Carpathian lynx population is still one of the largest in Europe and classified as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. However, population numbers have been strongly overestimated in the past, leading to conflicts with human interests and ultimately to illegal killings. Further concerns are related to habitat quality and connectivity.

 © Jakub Kubala

Capturing and translocating animals for reintroduction, reinforcement, and conservation requires comprehensive research on the source population, focusing on abundance, trends, genetic diversity, and health. This knowledge is necessary to assess whether the lynx population in an area corresponds with a favourable conservation status and whether it can sustain translocations without any negative consequences to its viability.

The Sourcing Working Group brings together lynx experts for all three potential sources for reintroductions: captive-bred lynxorphans and wild-caught lynx. Together we are committed to ensuring that

  • Wild lynx are captured and translocated according to scientific standards (Linking Lynx Protocols).
  • The captured lynx are quarantined in professional wildlife sanctuaries.
  • The bureaucratic requirements for the rapid transport of wild lynx between different Carpathian lynx populations and European states within and outside the EU are created.
  • Scientific monitoring of the animals takes place before, during and after the lynx captures and translocations and the data obtained contribute to the constant national and international lynx conservation in the Carpathians and in Europe.