- Lynx project – GHD 2020-2023
- Balkan Lynx Recovery Programme
- Completed projects
STATUS, ECOLOGY AND LAND TENURE SYSTEM OF THE CRITICALLY ENDANGERD BALKAN LYNX
The research project “Status, ecology and land tenure system of the critically endangered Balkan lynx” in the frame of SCOPES (Scientific co-operation between Eastern Europe and Switzerland) was the scientific part of the Balkan lynx program from 2010–2012.
The project was a cooperation of researchers from the universities of Bern, Skopje (North Macedonia) and Tirana (Albania). It generated the biological and ecological base knowledge on three specific subjects for the conservation project:
- Spatial and social system and habitat preferences of the Balkan lynx.
- Feeding ecology of the Balkan lynx and recommendations for the sustainable management of prey species.
- Training of students in wildlife research and scientific monitoring in both countries.
Methods used in the field were GPS-GSM-telemetry for the observation of the lynx, and camera trap monitoring for capture-recapture estimates (lynx) and “occupancy”-analyses (prey species).
Results and publications
Three lynx were equipped with GPS-GSM radio collars in the area of Mavrovo National Park in western North Macedonia. Prey found by the aid of telemetry consisted mostly of roe deer, followed by chamois and some European hares. Home ranges were found to be 300–400 km², which indicates a very low lynx density. This was confirmed from two camera-trapping session in the same area. They resulted in a density estimate of only 0.82 ± 0.29 lynx per 100 km². Camera traps in Albania only succeeded in the third year in capturing lynx in two areas – the Munella mountains and the Shebenik-Jabllanica National Park. The presence of a small population (4–5 individuals) in the Munella mountains was later confirmed in the frame of the Balkan Lynx Recovery Programme. The insufficient data did not allow for estimating prey abundance. We assume however, that roe deer and chamois densities are small as a result of unsustainable management of the populations.
The project was able to show the very small size of the population of the Balkan lynx and that it can only be conserved with concentrated efforts from all partners and institutions.
Further information: article „Rescuing the Balkan lynx“, Projects Magazine, January 2013, pages 62-64, Insight Publishers; and SNF P3 Forschungsdatenbank Projekt 127948
The project resulted in four master theses:
- Trajçe A. 2010. Conservation planning for guilds or individual species? The relative perceptions of wolves, bears and lynx among the rural Albanian public. Master thesis, University of Oxford, UK, 86 pp.
- Tesho L. 2011. Qëndrueshëmeria e gjuetisë dhe menaxhimi I kafshëve të egra në Shqipëri [Sustainable hunting and management of wildlife in Albania]. Master thesis, University of Elbasan, Albania, 52 pp.
- Melovski D. 2012. Status and distribution of the Balkan Lynx (Lynx lynx martinoi MIRIC, 1978) and its prey. Master thesis, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Montenegro, 82 pp.
- Ivanov G. 2014. Spatially explicit model for habitat suitability and potential distribution of the critically endangered Balkan lynx (Lynx lynx balcanicus Bures 1941). Master thesis, Institute of Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje, Macedonia, 73 pp.
Projekt duration: 2010-2012
Location: western North Macedonia and eastern and northern Albania
- Institute of Veterinary Virology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Switzerland
- Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Skopje, North Macedonia
- Macedonian Ecological Society (MES)
- Faculty of Biotechnology and Food, Agricultural University of Tirana, Albania
- Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA)
Sponsors: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) together with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in the frame of SCOPES (Scientific co-operation between Eastern Europe and Switzerland)
Contact University of Bern and KORA: Urs Breitenmoser, Manuela von Arx