Balkan lynx in Macedonia
The Balkan Lynx is found in Macedonia in remote mountainous regions of the Balkans, with the largest numbers in remote hills of western Macedonia. The Balkan Lynx is considered a national symbol of Macedonia, and it is depicted on the reverse of the Macedonian 5 denars coin, issued in 1993.It has been on the brink of extinction for nearly a century. Numbers are estimated to be around one hundred in the whole of the Balkans, and the decline is due to illegal poaching. Eurasian Lynx – Wikipedia
In the evening of Sunday, 14 March 2010, the first Balkan lynx (Lynx lynx martinoi) ever was captured in Mavrovo National Park, Macedonia. The male, named “Marko”, was equipped with a GPS-collar and released subsequently at place. “Marko” will provide important insights into the ecology of this critically endangered lynx subspecies occuring in the border regions of Macedonia and Albania. The first 10 days of following Marko’s movements (see map) have already revealed that the new GPS-GSM technique works well for observing these elusive animals in the rugged terrain of the Macedonian mountains.
The Balkan lynx is a flagship species for nature conservation in the region. Being a top-predator, its conservation involves multiple levels of actions. Habitat protection is a strong requirement for the conservation of the Balkan lynx and as such it is of high importance in the Recovery Programme. The fact that the core area of the surviving Balkan lynx is in the Mavrovo National Park in Macedonia – a relatively large area with a long history of protection – is best proof for this. The work of the project is helping to identify, propose and prepare the ground for the future designation of new protected areas within the range of the Balkan lynx, as well as the enlargement of the existing ones. Furthermore, we try to improve the management of the protected areas through various local projects that support a sustainable use of land and resources.
Poaching is one of the biggest threats to the survival of this Balkan subspecies of the European lynx, the largest wild cat found on the continent.
Though its overall numbers are uncertain, they seem to hover dangerously around the 100 scientists say are needed for their population to remain stable.
In Albania and Macedonia, foreign experts put their number at less than 80 though local counterparts say there are fewer than 40. The estimates in neighbouring Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia are even worse.
Lynx are killed by villagers in the impoverished region mainly for their prized fur, a spotted golden-brown. But dwindling forests and a lack of prey are also factors in their decline, experts say.