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    Are Lynxes the visitors of small forests?

    Lynxes are considered to be inhabitants of extensive primaeval forests. Observations from Mazury show, however, that these large cats can also be found in small forests.

    The Eurasian lynx is the largest member of the cat family in Poland. Its natural population inhabits the Carpathian Mountains and larger forest complexes west of the Vistula. Analyses of the habitat preferences of the Eurasian lynx suggest that these predators are associated with large forest complexes. 


    In 2021, scientists from the Faculty of Biology of the University of Warsaw conducted research in looking for traces of lynxes in forests in Mazury. The research was conducted between Lakes Łuknajno, Śniardwy, Orzy and Szymoneckie, where local forest complexes cover an area of fewer than 50 km2. During the snowfall, the scientists tracked 607 km of transects and installed 5 photo traps, which operated for a total of 577 days. They presented the research results in an article in the journal “Przegląd Przyrodniczy.”


    During the investigations, 33 tracks of lynxes were recorded. The lynxes were found in the forest complex east of Lake Łuknajno with an area of about 14 km2 and in the forests between Lake Buwełno, Lake Small Ublik and Lake Orzysz with a length of about 48 km2. 


    “We were certainly dealing with at least two individuals, which was made clear by the large differences in the size of the traces found,” reports the main author of the article, Dr Korneliusz Kurek of the Masurian Center for Biodiversity and Nature Education “KUMAK”, which is part of the UW Faculty of Biology.


    “The research results suggest that monitoring of lynxes should not be limited to large forest complexes, but should also cover forests with smaller areas,” says co-author Dr. hab. Robert Mysłajek from the UW Institute of Ecology.




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