the Eurasian Lynx

The Eurasian lynx belongs to the large carnivores in Europe. Although it has lived alongside humans for a long time, in the last centuries this species was relentlessly hunted to extinction in large parts of Europe, effectively causing a population bottleneck for the European meta-population. However, efforts regarding reforestation and protection from hunting, as well as reintroductions (e.g. Harzer Mountains, Germany [1]) in the last 50-80 years, have led to an increase in European lynx population sizes. While these efforts have resulted in higher numbers of individuals overall, populations are still small and often loosely connected, or not connected at all. Consequently, gene flow between populations is low or absent entirely, meaning that loss of genetic variation by genetic drift can reduce the evolutionary potential of populations. For this reason, the genetic monitoring of European lynx populations is of great importance, when devising informed plans for reintroduction and protection measurements.

 

[1] Kramer-Schadt S, Revilla E, Wiegand T (2005) Lynx reintroductions in fragmented landscapes of Germany: Projects with a future or misunderstood wildlife conservation? Biological Conservation 125, 169-182.

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