European Rewilding Network

Reintroduction of lynx in Germany

Return of the lynx to the Palatinate Forest Biosphere Reserve

In the Palatinate Forest, lynx hints have been registered again and again since the early 80s.
Hans Glader

Originally, the Eurasian lynx colonized all of the larger forest and forest steppe areas in northern and central Eurasia. In the middle of the 20th century, the spread of lynx reached its lowest level. While the animals had been exterminated in Western Europe, there were only four relict occurrences in Europe: In Scandinavia, in the Carpathians, in the Baltic States and in the Balkans. A large contiguous population only existed in Russia.

The regeneration of the forests and above all the prey population was, in addition to the end of the persecution, the prerequisite for the recovery of the lynx populations in Europe. In the meantime, the lynx population in the areas mentioned has increased again, although the Balkan population is still considered to be threatened. All other populations in Europe are due to resettlement over the past decades.

Up to the start of the project, there were two populations in Germany that can be traced back to resettlement in the Bohemian Forest / Bavarian Forest and in the Harz Mountains. In the Palatinate Forest, lynx hints have been registered again and again since the early 80s. Further reports on individual animals are known from the Eifel, their origin is unknown.

After extensive preparations, the relocation of a total of 20 lynxes from Switzerland and Slovakia to the Palatinate Forest began in 2016. By the end of 2019, 17 lynxes had already been brought to their new home. The released lynxes all receive a GPS transmitter collar to accompany their resettlement in the first few months. The wide-ranging monitor ring has made it possible to detect at least 10 young animals that were born in the new home. A further focus of the project is a broad public relations work and a continuous exchange with the interest groups in Germany and France. The lynxes that live in secret do not pose a danger to humans. Forest visitors of all ages can still move freely in the forest.

Project: Reintroduction of lynx in Germany
Region: Biosphere Reserve Palatinate Forest "Biosphärenreservat Pfälzerwald"
Type of protection: UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve, 36.000 ha are part of the Natura 2000 Network (Species and Habitats Directive)
Keystone species: roe deer, red deer, wild boar
Aim and vision: 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.
To achieve a self-sustained, long term public acceptance of the lynx in the regions Palatinate-Forest, Alsace and Lorraine.
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.
Uniqueness of the project: 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
Other activities: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, Research
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: 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.
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.

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.
The nature conservation experts of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assessed the plans very positively.
Office established, communications and educational programs running, preparations for catch and release ongoing.
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.
Map
Country
Germany
Start year
01.01.2015
Size (ha)
179,000 ha on the German side; 302,800 ha in the entire UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
Area type
Temperate deciduous forest
Natural process
Predation
Flagship species
Lynx
In the Palatinate Forest, lynx hints have been registered again and again since the early 80s.
Hans Glader

Originally, the Eurasian lynx colonized all of the larger forest and forest steppe areas in northern and central Eurasia. In the middle of the 20th century, the spread of lynx reached its lowest level. While the animals had been exterminated in Western Europe, there were only four relict occurrences in Europe: In Scandinavia, in the Carpathians, in the Baltic States and in the Balkans. A large contiguous population only existed in Russia.

The regeneration of the forests and above all the prey population was, in addition to the end of the persecution, the prerequisite for the recovery of the lynx populations in Europe. In the meantime, the lynx population in the areas mentioned has increased again, although the Balkan population is still considered to be threatened. All other populations in Europe are due to resettlement over the past decades.

Up to the start of the project, there were two populations in Germany that can be traced back to resettlement in the Bohemian Forest / Bavarian Forest and in the Harz Mountains. In the Palatinate Forest, lynx hints have been registered again and again since the early 80s. Further reports on individual animals are known from the Eifel, their origin is unknown.

After extensive preparations, the relocation of a total of 20 lynxes from Switzerland and Slovakia to the Palatinate Forest began in 2016. By the end of 2019, 17 lynxes had already been brought to their new home. The released lynxes all receive a GPS transmitter collar to accompany their resettlement in the first few months. The wide-ranging monitor ring has made it possible to detect at least 10 young animals that were born in the new home. A further focus of the project is a broad public relations work and a continuous exchange with the interest groups in Germany and France. The lynxes that live in secret do not pose a danger to humans. Forest visitors of all ages can still move freely in the forest.

Map
Country
Germany
Start year
01.01.2015
Size (ha)
179,000 ha on the German side; 302,800 ha in the entire UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
Area type
Temperate deciduous forest
Natural process
Predation
Flagship species
Lynx
Specification
Project: Reintroduction of lynx in Germany
Region: Biosphere Reserve Palatinate Forest "Biosphärenreservat Pfälzerwald"
Type of protection: UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve, 36.000 ha are part of the Natura 2000 Network (Species and Habitats Directive)
Keystone species: roe deer, red deer, wild boar
Description
Aim and vision: 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.
To achieve a self-sustained, long term public acceptance of the lynx in the regions Palatinate-Forest, Alsace and Lorraine.
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.
Uniqueness of the project: 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
Other activities: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, Research
Achievements
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: 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.
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.

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.
The nature conservation experts of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assessed the plans very positively.
Office established, communications and educational programs running, preparations for catch and release ongoing.
Exchange
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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