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European Environment Initiative (EURENI)

Funding Call
Two young people in front of a mountain panorama hold an EU flag

Let lynxes live - Implementation of a transboundary lynx action plan

Grant recipient

WWF Deutschland

Duration

completed

2022-03-01 till 2024-06-30

Location

Germany, Czech Republic

Funding Amount

242,000.00 €

Lynx in an enclosure of the wildlife park Waldhaus in Mehlmeisel in Oberfranken.

Projekt background

Lynxes are considered strictly protected in all EU Member States under the Habitats Directive. National conservation acts in Germany and Czech Republic, therefore, grant lynxes very strict protection regimes. Nevertheless, several lynx populations in Europe are stagnating. Their return is very slow, although lynxes have already been reintroduced in parts of Europe 50 years ago, after over a century of absence. The oldest and largest occurrence of lynxes in Germany is in Bavaria and part of the transboundary Bohemian-Bavarian-Austrian (BBA) lynx population. 

The latest population census of the BBA lynx population estimates up to 130 independent lynxes (monitoring data 2019/2020). The BBA population plays an important role in connecting the different lynx populations in Europe from the Alps to the Carpathians. Up to 25 percent of the lynxes in Bavaria are poached, according to a scientific study. If poaching continues at this rate, the lynx population in the border region of Germany and the Czech Republic could be extinct in 100 years. The large cats are poisoned, shot, or beaten to death and are therefore threatened with extinction in Germany.
Between 2018 and 2019, 13 adult resident lynxes disappeared in the Bavarian-Bohemian region, all of which were confirmed to have been killed illegally. Altogether, this represents a quarter of the adult animals in the Bavarian-Bohemian lynx population. To address these and other threats, a joint lynx conservation strategy was developed from 2017 to 2020 as part of the Interreg project 3Lynx, which aimed to improve cross-border cooperation in the protection and monitoring of the BBA lynx population.
 

Project goals and measures

The aim of the project is to help prevent the illegal killing of lynxes in Bavaria and the Czech Republic and thus to strengthen the transnational lynx population, which is currently particularly threatened by poaching. The vision of the project partners is to restore and maintain, in co-existence with people, a viable lynx population within the Greater Bohemian Ecosystem connected with other metapopulations in Central Europe. To help achieve this, the partners want prevent the illegal killing of lynxes in Bavaria and the Czech Republic. The project, therefore, aims to implement parts of the transnational lynx conservation strategy developed within the 3Lynx project. It seeks to raise awareness of the severity and extent of illegal lynx kills in Germany and the Czech Republic, as well as the general lack of compliance with species conservation regulations in the EU. The partners will improve the collection and provision of information on crimes as well as law enforcement activities with regards to lynx poaching and promote cross-border cooperation concerning the detection and prevention of wildlife crime.

To achieve this, the project partners aim to: 

  • prevent crimes, in particular by raising awareness of the impact of poaching on lynx population development through public outreach and by collecting and providing envi-ronmental information,
  • improve the investigation of crimes through training of rangers and local authorities,
  • increase the conviction rate of poaching offenses through the training of law enforce-ment professionals. 

 

The project team consists of WWF Germany, Luchs Bayern e.V., the University of Bremen, and the Czech organization Hnutí DUHA. While WWF and Luchs Bayern e.V. work mainly in Bavaria, Hnutí DUHA takes on a similar awareness-raising and education campaign in the Czech Republic. Among other things, the University of Bremen provides the partners with legal expertise and conducts research on the background and problems of criminal prosecution with regard to the illegal killing of lynxes. 
 

Current news about this project

  • Close-up of a lynx in the forest
    10/01/2024

    EURENI project trains volunteers in the Czech Republic to become involved in territory patrols to protect the lynx from illegal killing.