Scientists warn that Šumava could lose introduced lynx population
A newly-released study from a team of scientists has warned that efforts to reintroduce the Eurasian lynx into the Šumava region may end in failure. A lynx population was brought to the area from Slovakia back in the 1970s. By the 1990s, around 100 animals lived in an around the national park. But an upsurge in poaching has seen that number reduced to around 65. I spoke with Miroslav Kutal of environmental group Hnutí duha – which has just held a three-day international event in southern Bohemia focused on the future of the lynx in Europe – and began by asking why the lynx was under threat:
Who is poaching the animals and why?
“Poaching is not actually a problem inside the national park, but rather mostly in the surrounding area of the Šumava. Specifically, this pertains to neighbouring land which belongs to private hunting companies and forms private hunting grounds. Another problem is the greater acceptance by some hunters of killing lynx. A questionnaire conducted in the Šumava mountains a year ago revealed that many hunters have quite negative opinions of lynxes. And some hunters even confessed to hunting them.”
So are they poached because they are viewed as a pest, or is it simply as a prize for hunters?
“Some of the hunters regard lynxes as pests. The second reason is trophy hunting – they just want to have hunted a species to hang on their walls.”
A team of scientists from Germany, Poland and Russia have just published a study looking at the future of the lynx population, and they predict the animal could disappear entirely from the Šumava. So what do you believe can be done to protect the lynx and to keep it in the Šumava region?