Since the 1970s, there have been projects to reintroduce the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in many European countries. Many of these projects have succeeded in bringing Europe's largest predatory cat back into the forests of Central Europe. Thanks to reintroductions, there are currently three lynx populations in Germany, but they are far apart: in the Bavarian Forest, the Harz Mountains and the Palatinate Forest.
Despite the spatial proximity of the Harz Mountains, monitoring data from Thuringia and a dispersal model developed on behalf of BUND Thüringen suggest that natural colonization of the Thuringian Forest by lynx is not to be expected in the next 20-30 years.
Individual migrating male lynxes have already reached the Thuringian Forest, but without females for reproduction, a population cannot develop there. However, young female lynxes usually only establish their territories in direct contact with territories of other lynxes, so dispersal is very slow, and large forest-free areas pose serious obstacles.
To give the lynx a permanent future in the Thuringian Forest, the Thuringian Lynx Project would like to actively introduce up to 20 lynxes into the Thuringian Forest between 2024 and 2027. This should give the occasional migrating male an incentive to stay and, in the long term, create a large, stable population core between the occurrence areas in the Harz Mountains and the Bavarian Forest. The interconnected Central German lynx population is to become part of a European metapopulation.
Project period: 2023 -2027
Project budget: 3 million euros
Project area: 2,200 square kilometers
Project area Romania: Approximately. 2,800 square kilometers
To ensure a stable population can develop in the Thuringian Forest in the long term, up to 20 lynxes are to be introduced between 2024 and 2027.
The lynx population in the Thuringian Forest aims to link the previously isolated lynx populations in the Harz Mountains and the Bavarian Forest.
Fact-based information is intended to answer questions and reduce potential fears or concerns.