Why is Romania a key partner?

In Romania, lynx are commonly found in the Carpathian Mountains. This mountain range, which can reach heights of up to 2300 m, covers a large part of Romania’s territory and stretches from the Ukrainian border in the north to the Serbian border in the south. The extensive forest areas of the Romanian Carpathians are likely still inhabited by lynx throughout.

Our activities

The Romanian Carpathians are home to part of the largest autochthonous lynx populations remaining in Europe. The total population in the Carpathians is estimated at about 2100-2400 animals, with the Romanian Carpathians alone accounting for about 1500-1800 animals. So far, however, there are hardly any systematic studies on the lynx population in Romania. Under the leadership of our project partners ACDB and Romsilva, we are carrying out systematic monitoring in four representative study areas in the Eastern to estimate the lynx population density. In the course of this work, up to 10 lynxes will be captured and translocated to the Thuringian Forest.

Our work focuses on four representative study areas in the Eastern Carpathian Arc, which collectively cover an area of almost 2800 km². All four areas are characterized by extensive forests that are home to a diverse community of species. In addition to the lynx, the two other large predators native to Central and Eastern Europe, the wolf and the bear, are also found there.

How are the lynx counted?

For the monitoring of the lynx population in the Carpathians, mainly photo traps are used. Lynx can be individually distinguished from each other by their fur patterns. It is, therefore, possible to assign the photo trap images to individual lynxes and to count them.

Of course, not all lynx in the Romanian Carpathians can be counted. Even within the study areas, probably not every lynx will be captured by our cameras. However, with the help of modern statistical methods, it is possible to estimate the lynx population density in the study areas from the number of photographed lynx and the frequency and distribution of the photographs.

How are the lynx caught?

In addition to the use of enclosed lynx, wild-caught lynx from the autochthonous Carpathian population are to be relocated to the Thuringian Forest. The vast majority of lynx reintroduced to Central Europe so far were wild-caught animals from the Western Carpathians (Slovakia). However, according to current knowledge, the population density in the Western Carpathians is comparatively low. The project partners BUND, WWF and Wildtierland Hainich gGmbH have, therefore, ruled out the possibility of taking animals from this region.

How do the lynx come to Thuringia?

After capture, the lynxes spend about four weeks in a quarantine station in Eastern Romania, where they are examined for possible infectious diseases. Once the lynx is fit for transport, it is transferred to Thuringia in a suitable transport box by our experienced project team. Once it arrives in Thuringia, it first moves into our soft-release enclosure in the Thuringian Forest to gradually familiarise itself with its new surroundings. After another four weeks, the enclosure door is opened, and the lynx can explore its new habitat.