Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Photo traps, genetics help monitor lynx in Czech, German parks

CTK - 23 December 2009

Vimperk, South Bohemia, Dec 22 (CTK) - Bavarian and Czech experts have launched a joint project of monitoring the numbers and life of lynx in the Czech Sumava and the adjacent Bavarian Forest national parks using photo documentation and the collection of fur for genetic tests, Ludek Bufka told CTK yesterday.

Bufka, one of the Czech experts, said several dozens of pairs of photo traps and a number of collectors of fur have been placed across the area of about 940 square km this month. The first snaps have already been available, Bufka said.

"The quality photos enable to compare fur design of individual animals that is unique like human fingerprints," said Kristina Daniszova from the international team of experts.

A DNA analysis of the fur can help gain information about individual animals, such as their sex and family relations, she said.

Experts emphasise the importance of the project's cross-border character. Lynx ignores human frontiers and its migration area spreads across hundreds of square kilometers.

An adult male inhabits a territory of up to 400 square km, compared to the Sumava National Park's total area of 690.

In Sumava, the original population of lynx was exterminated by humans in the second half of the 19th century. The present population are offspring of the lynxes released to the wild in the Bavarian Forest park in the 1970s and in Sumava in the 1980s.

The lynx population has been permanently monitored. Radiotelemetric research has been carried out in the Czech and Bavarian national parks in 1996. Fifteen lynxes, including 10 males and five females, have been equipped with transmitters since.

The GPS system is to be applied as well.

The biggest threat "Czech" lynxes are faced with are poachers. Out of the 15 lynxes monitored through transmitters in the past eight years, one died, three were shot dead and the remaining four were probably killed by poachers as well.


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