Reintroduction of lynx in the Palatinate Forest Biosphere Reserve

  • Country:
  • Start year:
  • Location:
    Biosphere Reserve Palatinate Forest "Biosphärenreservat Pfälzerwald"
  • Size (ha):
    179,000 ha on the German side; 302,800 ha in the entire UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
  • Area Type:
  • Type of protection:
    UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve, 36.000 ha are part of the Natura 2000 Network (Species and Habitats Directive)

A sub-population of  lynx is to be re-established in the Palatinate Forest, Germany. The area is part of the German/French transboundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Palatinate Forest / Vosges du Nord. Reintroduced lynxes may disperse to the Vosges and enable genetic exchanges with the subpopulations in the Jura Mountains and the Alps.

Palatinate Forest, Germany


  • Keystone species present: roe deer, red deer, wild boar
  • Fauna species reintroduced: lynx


  • Description: A natural return of lynx (Lynx lynx carpathicus) to the Palatinate Forest is not to be expected due to the conservative dispersion behaviour of the species. The reintroduction is indispensable to establish a sub-population in its former natural range. The sub-population hereby established will contribute to the conservation of the species.<br /> The state and all 9 local governments & municipalities adjacent to the Palatinate Forest welcome the reintroduction. Authorities and the Civil Sector, including hunters and sheep keepers, acted jointly over a long period of time and generated a positive appreciation towards the Lynx.<br />
  • Aim: Restore the function of predation in the ecosystem, re-establish evolutionary processes by establishing a reproducing sub-population of the lynx (Lynx lynx carpathicus) in the Palatinate Forest.<br />
  • Vision: To achieve a self-sustained, long term public acceptance of the lynx in the regions Palatinate-Forest, Alsace and Lorraine.<br /> To increase the permeability of traffic infrastructure at the level of land-use planning in the Palatinate Forest, further in other low range mountains in Rhineland-Palatinate.
  • Accomplished in 10 years from now: 20 lynxes have been released and established home ranges in the Palatinate Forest / Vosges du Nord. The sub-population is reproducing and is growing to the expected number of 45 individuals.<br /> The close cooperation with German and French stakeholders (especially hunters, shepherds or other livestock owners) has established a self-contained, long-term acceptance of the lynx.<br /> <br />
  • Uniqueness: Very early involvement of all interest groups in multi-stakeholder-dialogues created a sound support before the start of the re-introduction. Research on the behaviour of prey species (roe deer and red deer) on 180.000 ha before and after the return of the lynx will allow for objective discussions
  • Results so far: Different feasibility studies conducted on behalf of the state Rhineland-Palatinate document the suitability of the Palatinate Forest in connection with Northern Vosges for a reintroduction of the lynx. An active release of the lynx to the German part of the Biosphere Reserve Palatinate Forest / Vosges du Nord is recommended.<br /> The nature conservation experts of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assessed the plans very positively. <br /> Office established, communications and educational programs running, preparations for catch and release ongoing.
  • Flagship species: Lynx
  • Other characteristics: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, Research


  • Inspirational value: Reintroduction of a key predator species, on scientific grounds and enclosed in close collaboration with local stakeholders and with a keen eye on increasing public acceptance
  • Experience you would like to share: Managing multistakeholder diaologues, legal and logistical aspects of translocation of wild animals.
  • Experience you would like to gain: Managing multistakeholder diaologues, legal and logistical aspects of translocation of wild animals.
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