There’s a growing concern about the current and expected population trends of several small reintroduced or native populations of Eurasian lynx in Europe. Although this issue and possible solutions have been discussed for individual cases, we have not seen a thorough, structured discussion, not even among lynx experts. There’s lack of clear guidance with managers and decision-makers in many countries facing difficulties in directing the future of lynx management
The introduced populations and the small autochtonous population still remaining in the Macedonia and Albania (the Balkan population) face serious problems. Reintroductions were in some cases done with a very low number of founder animals, in case of the Dinaric population with just six animals translocated from Slovakia. Poaching, low acceptance by local inhabitants, and possibly inbreeding depression may all be the causes that may, ultimately, cause new extinctions. The most commonly proposed solution is population augmentation with new individuals. However, such actions are often controversial andcan result in conflicts among stakeholders, and can be counterproductive for lynx conservation in the long run. They also affect neighboring countries that share the same population, or even other lynx populations that the reintroduced population might come in contact with. As the taxonomic status of the Balkan lynx population is not clear yet and may even be a separate subspecies, such population contact is not always necessarily beneficial.
To try to avoid possible problems caused by ad hoc actions, we believe that a focused discussion between experts at the international level is needed. We’ve decided to initiate such a discussion by organizing a Workshop on future management of threatened Eurasian lynx populations in Europe for just this reason. The workshop will take place on 3rd-5th of February 2010 in Slovenia. We would like to invite you to attend the workshop as we feel that you could substantially contribute with your expert knowledge and experience.