Nav: Home

Lynxes in danger

June 26, 2018

For some years now larger wild animals - such as lynxes, wolves, and bears - have been spreading out across Europe as existing populations grow and animals are resettled. Yet some populations are still endangered. A research team headed by the Freiburg conservation biologist PD Dr. Marco Heurich and the landscape ecologist PD Dr. Stephanie Kramer-Schadt of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research Berlin concludes that the illegal hunting of lynxes reintroduced into the border areas of Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria is having a major effect on their numbers. Their study, commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund Germany, has been published in the journal Biological Conservation.

In the 1980s Czech authorities reintroduced 18 lynxes into the area now covered by the Šumava national park. At first the population grew, but for several years numbers have been falling. In the first phase following their reintroduction, the lynxes spread along the border to the north as far as the Fichtelgebirge and south as far as the Waldviertel in Austria. But in a second phase from 1998 to 2014 numbers fell and have remained low. A number of research projects have indicated in that time that illegal hunting played a big role.

In order to test this, the biologists fed data on reproduction, mortality rates, mobility ecology and the area the animals transversed into a computer model; the data were collected via satellite telemetry, cameras and chance observation. The team also came up with a habitat model reflecting how suitable the area is as a place for lynxes to live. On the basis of the data the model simulated virtual lynxes which moved around a realistic simulation of the forest in which the animals live and which have the same characteristics as the wild animals. The model also took into consideration the real road network so that the virtual lynxes were able to fall victim to traffic accidents. The model therefore includes natural causes of death and the risk of being hit by a vehicle. In this way the researchers simulated various scenarios for the development of the lynx population and compare them with development observed in real life.

The team found that in the first phase from 1982 to 1996 only three to four percent of the animals' mortality rate could not be explained, and the probability of the population dying out was less than five percent. In the second phase from 1998 to 2014 the unexplained mortality was much higher - 15 to 20 percent - and is likely due to illegal hunting. "Sadly this is right in the international trend when it comes to the level of mortality caused by humans," says Stephanie Kramer-Schadt. Because experts have observed other causes such as diseases to a limited extent in the area, the researchers assume on the basis of simulations that illegal killings are the primary reason for the animals' high mortality. While these deaths in the first phase had only a small effect on the population, they rose significantly in the second phase.

As the researchers showed, the probability of the population becoming extinct has reached a critical point - at which a small increase in deaths could lead to the entire population dying out. "The probability that the population may die out again is up to 74 percent in an unfortunate case," says Marco Heurich. By the requirements set out by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for a viable population, this risk is too high. Simulations excluding illegal activities in the Bayerischer Wald and Šumava national parks indicate that these protected areas have contributed significantly to maintaining the lynx population. In order to maintain the population permanently, stopping the hunting and illegal killing of lynxes is the most important step to be taken alongside the preservation of habitats not crossed with roads.

Forschungsverbund Berlin

Related Data Articles:

Ups and downs in COVID-19 data may be caused by data reporting practices
As data accumulates on COVID-19 cases and deaths, researchers have observed patterns of peaks and valleys that repeat on a near-weekly basis.
Data centers use less energy than you think
Using the most detailed model to date of global data center energy use, researchers found that massive efficiency gains by data centers have kept energy use roughly flat over the past decade.
Storing data in music
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a technique for embedding data in music and transmitting it to a smartphone.
Life data economics: calling for new models to assess the value of human data
After the collapse of the blockchain bubble a number of research organisations are developing platforms to enable individual ownership of life data and establish the data valuation and pricing models.
Geoscience data group urges all scientific disciplines to make data open and accessible
Institutions, science funders, data repositories, publishers, researchers and scientific societies from all scientific disciplines must work together to ensure all scientific data are easy to find, access and use, according to a new commentary in Nature by members of the Enabling FAIR Data Steering Committee.
Democratizing data science
MIT researchers are hoping to advance the democratization of data science with a new tool for nonstatisticians that automatically generates models for analyzing raw data.
Getting the most out of atmospheric data analysis
An international team including researchers from Kanazawa University used a new approach to analyze an atmospheric data set spanning 18 years for the investigation of new-particle formation.
Ecologists ask: Should we be more transparent with data?
In a new Ecological Applications article, authors Stephen M. Powers and Stephanie E.
Should you share data of threatened species?
Scientists and conservationists have continually called for location data to be turned off in wildlife photos and publications to help preserve species but new research suggests there could be more to be gained by sharing a rare find, rather than obscuring it, in certain circumstances.
Futuristic data storage
The development of high-density data storage devices requires the highest possible density of elements in an array made up of individual nanomagnets.
More Data News and Data Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.