The Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) is a medium-sized wild cat occurring from Northern, Central and Eastern Europe to Central Asia and Siberia, the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas. It inhabits temperate and boreal forests up to an altitude of 5,500 m (18,000 ft). Because of its wide distribution, it has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2008. It is threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching and depletion of prey. The European lynx population is estimated at comprising maximum 10,000 individuals and is considered stable.
|Eurasian lynx range|
The Eurasian lynx is the largest of the four lynx species, ranging in length from 80 to 130 cm (31 to 51 in) and standing 60–75 cm (24–30 in) at the shoulder. The tail measures 11 to 24.5 cm (4.3 to 9.6 in) in length. Males usually weigh from 18 to 30 kg (40 to 66 lb) and females weigh 8 to 21 kg (18 to 46 lb). Male lynxes from Siberia, where the species reaches the largest body size, can weigh up to 38 kg (84 lb) or reportedly even 45 kg (99 lb). The race from the Carpathian Mountains can also grow quite large and rival those from Siberian in body mass in some cases. It has powerful, relatively long legs, with large webbed and furred paws that act like snowshoes. It also possesses a short "bobbed" tail with an all-black tip, black tufts of hair on its ears, and a long grey-and-white ruff.
During the summer, the Eurasian lynx has a relatively short, reddish or brown coat, which tends to be more brightly coloured in animals living at the southern end of its range. In winter, however, this is replaced by a much thicker coat of silky fur that varies from silver-grey to greyish brown. The underparts of the animal, including the neck and chin, are white at all times of the year. The fur is almost always marked with black spots, although the number and pattern of these are highly variable. Some animals also possess dark brown stripes on the forehead and back. Although spots tend to be more numerous in animals from southern populations, Eurasian lynx with heavily spotted fur may exist close to others with plain fur.
Eurasian lynx make a range of vocalizations, but are generally silent outside of the breeding season. They have been observed to mew, hiss, growl, and purr, and, like domestic cats, will "chatter" at prey that is just out of reach. Mating calls are much louder, consisting of deep growls in the male, and loud "meow"-like sounds in the female.
Eurasian lynx are secretive, and because the sounds they make are very quiet and seldom heard, their presence in an area may go unnoticed for years. Remnants of prey or tracks on snow are usually observed long before the animal is seen.
Lynx prey largely on small to fairly large sized mammals and birds. Among the recorded prey items for the species are hares, rabbits, marmots, squirrels, dormice, other rodents, mustelids (such as martens), grouse, red foxes, wild boar, chamois, young moose, roe deer, red deer, reindeer and other ungulates. Although taking on larger prey presents a risk to the animal, the bounty provided by killing them can outweigh the risks. The Eurasian lynx thus prefers fairly large ungulate prey, especially during winter when small prey is less abundant. They are the only Lynx species in which ungulates provide a great portion of their diet in relation to lagomorphs or rodents. Where common, roe deer appear to be the preferred prey species for the lynx. Even where roe deer are quite uncommon, the deer are still quantitatively the favored prey species, though in summer smaller prey and occasional domestic sheep are eaten more regularly. In parts of Finland, introduced white-tailed deer are eaten regularly. In some areas of Poland and Austria, red deer are the preferred prey and, in Switzerland, chamois may be locally favored. They will also feed on carrion when it is available. Adult lynx require 1.1 to 2 kilograms (2.4 to 4.4 lb) of meat per day, and may take several days to fully consume some of their larger prey.
The main method of hunting is stalking, sneaking and jumping on prey, although they are also ambush predators when conditions are suitable. In winter certain snow conditions make this harder and the animal may be forced to switch to larger prey. Eurasian lynx hunt using both vision and hearing, and often climb onto high rocks or fallen trees to scan the surrounding area. A very powerful predator, these lynxes have successfully killed adult deer weighing to at least 150 kg (330 lb).
The Eurasian lynx inhabits rugged forested country providing plenty of hideouts and stalking opportunities. Depending on the locality, this may include forest-steppe, boreal forest, and montane forest. In the more mountainous parts of their range, Eurasian lynx will descend into the lowlands in winter, following their prey, and avoiding the deepest snows. They tend to be less common where wolves are abundant, and wolves have been reported to attack and even eat lynx. In Russian forests, the most important predators of the Eurasian lynx are the grey wolf. Wolves kill and eat lynxes that fail to escape into trees. Lynx populations decrease when wolves appear in a region and are likely to take smaller prey where wolves are active. Wolverines are perhaps the most dogged of competitors for kills, often stealing lynx kills. Lynxes tend to actively avoid encounters with wolverines, but may sometimes fight them if defending kittens. Instances of predation on lynx by wolverines may occur, even perhaps on adults, but unlike wolf attacks on lynx are extremely rare if they do in fact occur. One study in Sweden found that out of 33 deaths of lynx of a population being observed, one was probably killed by a wolverine. Another known instance of predation by an adult wolverine on an adult lynx was reportedly seen in the Pechora River area, although this appeared to merely be an anecdotal claim. There are no known instances of lynx preying on a wolverine. Sometimes, Siberian tigers have also preyed on lynxes, as evidenced by examination of tiger stomach contents. Lynx compete for food with the predators described above, and also with the red fox, eagle owls, golden eagles, wild boar (which scavenge from lynx kills), and in the southern part of its range, the snow leopard and leopard as well. Brown bears, although not (so far as is known) a predator of Eurasian lynx, are in some areas a semi-habitual usurpers of ungulate kills by lynxes, not infrequently before the cat has had a chance to consume its kill itself.
Although they may hunt during the day when food is scarce, the Eurasian lynx is mainly nocturnal or crepuscular, and spends the day sleeping in dense thickets or other places of concealment. It lives solitarily as an adult.
The hunting area of Eurasian lynx can be anything from 20 to 450 km2 (8 to 174 sq mi), depending on the local availability of prey. Males tend to hunt over much larger areas than females, which tend to occupy exclusive, rather than overlapping, hunting ranges. The Eurasian lynx can travel up to 20 km (12 mi) during one night, although about half this distance is more typical. They patrol regularly throughout all parts of their hunting range, using scent marks to indicate their presence to other individuals. As with other cats, the scent marks may consist of faeces, urine, or scrape marks, with the former often being left in prominent locations along the boundary of the hunting territory.
The mating season for Eurasian lynx lasts from January to April. The female typically comes into oestrus only once during this period, lasting from four to seven days, but if the first litter is lost, a second period of oestrus is common. Unlike the closely related Canada lynx, the Eurasian species does not appear to be able to control its reproductive behaviour based on prey availability. This may be because, feeding on a larger range of prey than the Canada lynx, rarity of suitable prey is a less common occurrence.
Pregnant females construct dens in secluded locations, often protected by overhanging branches or tree roots. The den may be lined with feathers, deer hair, and dry grass to provide bedding for the young. Gestation lasts from 67 to 74 days, and results in the birth of from one to four kittens. At birth, Eurasian lynx kittens weigh 240 to 430 grams (8.5 to 15.2 oz) and are blind and helpless. They initially have plain, greyish-brown fur, attaining the full adult colouration around eleven weeks of age. The eyes open after ten to twelve days. The kittens begin to take solid food at six to seven weeks, when they begin to leave the den, but are not fully weaned for five or six months.
The den is abandoned two to three months after the kittens are born, but the young typically remain with their mother until they are around ten months of age (the start of the next breeding season). Eurasian lynx reach sexual maturity at two or three years, and have lived for twenty one years in captivity.
As of 2013, the Russian lynx population is estimated as comprising 22,510 individuals and is considered abundant and stable in some regions.
Although the Eurasian lynx is not found in Japan, fossils of the Eurasian or a closely related Lynx species from the late Pleistocene era and onward have been excavated at various locations in the Japanese archipelago. Since no archaeological evidence after the Yayoi period was found, it was probably eradicated during the Jōmon period.
The Eurasian lynx was once quite common in all of Europe. By the middle of the 19th century, it had become extirpated in most countries of Central and Western Europe. There have been successful attempts to reintroduce this lynx to forests.
Status of the Eurasian lynx in various European countries and regions:
Agusalu Nature Reserve is a nature reserve situated in eastern Estonia, in Ida-Viru County.
The nature reserve encompasses a portion of a large area of wetlands, and the landscape is dominated by bogs; however it is also the location of the only system of continental sand dunes in Estonia, overgrown with rare old-growth forest. The area has traditionally been difficult to access and therefore the traces of human influence are very limited. It even served as a refuge for local people during times of war. Oil shale mining in the vicinity, as well as intensified forestry, are today the major threats to the area's unique environment.The area is home to a number of rare or protected species. From the fauna, gray wolf and Eurasian lynx can be mentioned, as well as several birds - it is the most important nesting area in Estonia for the common greenshank and home to both white-tailed eagle and golden eagle. Plant species include unusual orchids.Today, the area has been equipped with a bicycle trail and other facilities for visitors.Astore Wildlife Sanctuary
Astore Wildlife Sanctuary is as wildlife refuge located in Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan. It is within the Astore District, between Nanga Parbat 8,126 metres (26,660 ft) to the west and the plains of Deosai to the east, and about 11 km (6.8 mi) from the town of Bungi. Its area is approximately 414.72 km2 (160.12 sq mi) and its altitude is from 1,212 m (3,976 ft) to 6,060 m (19,880 ft).The sanctuary is home to a small population of the near threatened (since 2015) Astor Markhor, the national animal of Pakistan, it further provides home to endangered snow leopard, Himalayan brown bear and Eurasian lynx.Balkan lynx
The Balkan lynx (Lynx lynx balcanicus syn. Lynx lynx martinoi) is a subspecies of the Eurasian lynx in the genus Lynx. It is found in eastern Albania and western North Macedonia, with smaller populations in Kosovo and Montenegro. It is considered a national symbol in the Republic of North Macedonia and appears on the Macedonian five denar coin. It is believed that in North Macedonia there are from 35 to 40 remaining Balkan lynx, mostly found in Mavrovo National Park. This cat is considered to be the largest cat in the Balkans. It has been sighted in 2011 and 2012 in the northern mountainous region of Albania and within the boundaries of the Shebenik-Jabllanice National Park. It is classified as Critically Endangered in Albania and has been protected de jure since 1969, but despite this illegal poaching and habitat destruction threatens the remaining Balkan lynx populations in both Albania and North Macedonia. There are an estimated 15-20 individuals still alive in Albania. The Balkan lynx has been on the brink of extinction for nearly a century, with total numbers estimated to be fewer than 50. The Balkan lynxes' decrease in number have been thought to be due to illegal poaching. The Balkan lynx starts mating around January to February, and gives birth in April. While the Balkan lynx is listed as a subspecies in much of the news coverage and taxonomic references, there has been some dispute over those claims.Carpathian lynx
The Carpathian lynx (Lynx lynx carpathicus) is a subspecies of Eurasian lynx found in the Carpathian Basin of Romania, Slovakia and Hungary.In addition, due to reintroduction in the 1970s, there's an endangered population in the territories of Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia.Caucasian lynx
The Caucasian lynx (Lynx lynx dinniki), also known as Caucasus lynx or Eastern lynx, is a subspecies of Eurasian lynx native in the Caucasus. It lives in the Middle East. There are 680 mature individuals in the northern Caucasus as of 2013. It is proposed for the Caucasian lynx to be listed as Vulnerable in Iran.Jablanica (mountain range)
Jablanica (Albanian: Jabllanica or Jabllanicë pronounced [ˈjaːbɫa'nica or ˈjaːbɫa'nicə]; Macedonian: Јабланица pronounced [ˈja:bɫanica]) is a mountain range in Southern and Southeastern Europe, stretching north-south direction across the border of Albania and the Republic of North Macedonia.The long mountain ridge is higher than 2,000 m (6,562 ft) for approximately 50 km (31 mi), while the highest part, located in its very center, is Black Stone at 2,257 m (7,405 ft) high. Both countries have 50% of the mountain, Albania the west and North Macedonia the east. Jablanica Mountain contains many large mountain lakes. Shebenik mountain is located just to the west of Jablanica and give name to the Shebenik-Jabllanice National Park. The closest towns to Jablanica are Librazhd in Albania and Struga in North Macedonia.
The mountain range is one of the few places in the Balkans that hold the Balkan lynx (Lynx lynx martinoi), a subspecies of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx). The total number of this vulnerable species is estimated at below 100 individuals.Kurjenrahka National Park
Kurjenrahka National Park (Finnish: Kurjenrahkan kansallispuisto, Swedish: Kurjenrahka nationalpark) is a national park in Southwest Finland. It was established in 1998 and covers 29 square kilometres (11 sq mi). The area consists mainly of bog but also includes primeval forests, some of which have been unmanaged for over 150 years. The Eurasian lynx is a permanent resident of Kurjenrahka, but brown bears and gray wolves have also been observed and are known to reside in areas within or close to the park. Marked trails in the general area extend to over 300 km.In Middle Ages the forests were jointly owned by the local parish. In early 1800s two manors bought them, but they had financially hard times and had to sell them to the state before end of the 19th century. Before selling, they logged clear all areas with easy access, but some islands in middle of mires remained unlogged.Lynx
A lynx (; plural lynx or lynxes) is any of the four species (Canada lynx, Iberian lynx, Eurasian lynx, bobcat) within the medium-sized wild cat genus Lynx. The name lynx originated in Middle English via Latin from the Greek word λύγξ, derived from the Indo-European root leuk- ('light, brightness') in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes.Two other cats that are sometimes called lynxes, the caracal (desert lynx) and the jungle cat (jungle lynx), are not members of the genus Lynx.Northern lynx
The Northern lynx (Lynx lynx lynx) is a medium-sized subspecies of Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx).Pripyatsky National Park
Pripyatsky National Park or Pripyat National Park in a natural reserve in Gomel Region, Belarus. It was founded in 1996 for preservation of natural landscapes around the Pripyat River from which it takes its name. Much of the park's area is occupied by turf swamps. Pripyatsky National Park is home to 51 species of mammals, including elk, wild boar, red deer, European badger, and Eurasian lynx.Repovesi National Park
Repovesi National Park (Finnish: Repoveden kansallispuisto) is situated in the municipalities of Kouvola and Mäntyharju, only a few hours north-east of the more populous Helsinki area of southern Finland. Formerly a site for intensive commercial forestry, the Repovesi area successfully transformed into a pristine national park. Pine and birch trees dominate the park. Repovesi abounds with wildlife including bear, deer and various birds. The River Koukunjoki flows through the park. Other streams and lakes are also situated within the parks boundaries.
Attractions include the Olhavanvuori hill, popular among climbers, and the Kultareitti water taxi route. Also located in the park are the Kuutinlahti bay with its restored timber rafting channels, the Lapinsalmi suspension bridge, and many observation towers.
The common fauna of the park includes the red-throated diver, the Eurasian lynx, the moose, many owls and several galliformes.Sarychat-Ertash State Nature Reserve
The Sarychat-Ertash State Nature Reserve is located in Issyk-Kul Region of Kyrgyzstan. It was established in 1995 with a purpose of conservation of unique nature complexes, rare and threatened species of flora and fauna of syrt area of Issyk-Kul Region, and maintaining regional environmental balance. The reserve currently occupies 134,140 hectares including 72,080 hectares of core area.The reserve was founded mainly to protect the endangered snow leopard and the argali, a large wild sheep of Central Asia. Other large mammals are Siberian ibex, wild boar, Eurasian lynx, Eurasian wolf and Eurasian brown bear. Smaller and medium-sized mammals, include red fox, pallas cat, stone marten, badger, tolai hare and gray marmot. The reserve is excluded of any usage, including tourism.Shebenik
Shebenik is a large mountain located in the Shebenik-Jabllanice National Park in eastern Albania. Shebenik has many peaks over 2,000 m (6,562 ft). The highest is Maja e Shebenikut at 2,253 m (7,392 ft) above sea level. It is found in the north-east of Shebenik. Around this peak are a number of small and large mountain lakes. Shebenik mountain is located west of Jablanica Mountain and northwest of Lake Ohrid. Shebenik is a great importance to wildlife preservation, especially because it is a home for the rare Eurasian lynx.
The largest settlement near Shebenik is the town of Librazhd.Siberian lynx
The Siberian lynx (Lynx lynx wrangeli), also known as East Siberian lynx, is a subspecies of Eurasian lynx living in the Russian Far East. It lives in the Stanovoy Range and east of the Yenisei River. There are 5,890 mature individuals in the Russian Far East as of 2013. Prey include the Siberian roe deer.Sirtsi Nature Reserve
Sirtsi Nature Reserve is a nature reserve situated in western Estonia, and straddles the border between Lääne-Viru and Ida-Viru County.
The nature reserve was founded first and foremost to protect brown bears in the area. It is centred on a system of mires and a bog, and the surrounding forests. Apart from brown bear, the nature reserve also functions as a sanctuary for other large mammals such as Eurasian lynx and gray wolf. In addition, shy animals such as black stork and Siberian flying squirrel live in the reserve.The former winter road between Central Estonia and Saint Petersburg ran through this area and its course can still be identified.Sookuninga Nature Reserve
Sookuninga Nature Reserve is a nature reserve situated in south-western Estonia, in Pärnu County.
Sookuninga nature reserve is situated on the Latvian border of Estonia and comprises a large area of wetlands and woodlands. Sookuninga nature reserve and the Ziemeļu bogs protected area across the border together make out the North Livonian trans-boundary Ramsar protected wetland site. Together, the two sites form one of the largest natural peat bog areas in the Baltic states and constitute an important fresh-water reservoir. Sookuninga is home to many species, including large mammals like Gray wolf, Eurasian lynx and Brown bear. The site is furthermore a refuge for many unusual or threatened species of birds, including three species of eagle. Traditionally, the area has been sparsely populated due to its inaccessibility, and therefore also used as a hiding-place during times of war. Facilities for visitors include a bird-watching tower and a hiking trail.Turkestan lynx
The Turkestan lynx (Lynx lynx isabellinus) is a subspecies of Eurasian lynx native to Central Asia. It is also known as Central Asian lynx, Tibetan lynx or Himalayan lynx. It is widespread from west in Central Asia, from South Asia to China and Mongolia. There are 27,000 mature individuals in China as of 2013. It is proposed for the Turkestan lynx to be listed as Vulnerable in Uzbekistan.Veľká Fatra National Park
Veľká Fatra National Park (Slovak: Národný park Veľká Fatra) is a National Park in Slovakia. Most of it lies in the southern part of the Žilina Region and a small part in the northern part of Banská Bystrica Region. The national park and its protective zone comprise most of the Greater Fatra Range (Slovak: Veľká Fatra) which belongs to the Outer Western Carpathians.
The National Park was declared on 1 April 2002 as an upgrade of the Protected Landscape Area (Slovak: Chránená krajinná oblasť (CHKO) Veľká Fatra) of the same name established in 1972 to protect a mountain range with a high percentage of well-preserved Carpathian forests, with prevailing European beech, which cover 90% of the area in combination with ridge-top cattle pastures dating back to the 15th – 17th centuries, to the times of the so-called Walachian colonisation. In places there are also relict Scots pine forests and the Harmanec valley is notable as the richest Irish yew tree location in Central and probably all Europe. NP Veľká Fatra is also an important reservoir of fresh water thanks to high rainfalls and low evaporation in the area. The core of the range is built of granite which reaches the surface only in places, more common are various slates creating gently modelled ridges and summits of the so-called Hôlna Fatra and limestone and dolomite rocks creating a rough and picturesque terrain of the so-called Bralná Fatra. There are also many karst features, namely caves, Harmanec Cave being the only one open to the public.
Various rocks and therefore various soils, diverse type of terrain with gentle upland meadows and pastures, sharp cliffs and deep valleys provide for extremely rich flora and fauna. All species of big Central European carnivores live abundantly there: brown bear, grey wolf and Eurasian lynx.
The area is popular with tourists, mainly hikers and trekkers as there rather few resorts, located outside the National Park. The UNESCO World Heritage village of Vlkolínec with well-preserved log cabins lies nearby.Wildlife of Russia
The wildlife of Russia inhabits terrain that extends across 12 time zones and from the tundra region in the far north to the Caucasus Mountains and prairies in the south, including temperate forests which cover 70% of the country's territory. Russia's forests comprise 22% of the forest in the world as well as 33% of all temperate forest in the world.According to the data furnished in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation, as of 1997, there were 266 mammal species and 780 bird species under protection. Some of the threatened plant species are the Siberian cedar pine, Korean cedar pine in the far eastern part of the country, wild chestnut in the Caucasus. In the Russian Far East the mammals reported are brown bears, Eurasian lynx, and red deer, Amur tigers, Amur leopards, and Asiatic black bears. There are also about 350 bird species and 30 percent of all endangered species in Russia are found here which include 48 unique endangered species. Carnivores under threat include the Siberian tiger, numbered at 400, and the Amur leopard of which only 30 remained as of 2003.
Extant Carnivora species