In the evening hours right after the first day of the SaveGREEN Kick-off Meeting, on Tuesday, 8 September 2020, a lynx got hit by a car near the village of Chvalčov in Hostýn Hills (Eastern Moravia) in one of the SaveGREEN pilot area. According to the information published on the iDnes.cz website, the driver responsible for killing the rare carnivore drove away from the accident site. The Czech Police, who is also investigating the case, handed over the dead animal to the owners of the surrounding forests, the Archbishop's Forests and Estates Olomouc.
Site of the accident (copyright Friends of the Earth branch Olomouc, CZ)
Scientists from the Institute of Forest Ecology, Mendel University in Brno and the Veterinary and Pharmaceutical University took over the body. After the general examination and autopsy, they confirmed that the death of the lynx was caused by internal injuries due to a collision with a vehicle. The male lynx weighed a little less than 18 kilograms and was in good condition.
Zoologists carefully compared the markings on the lynx with images from the database of Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (Hnutí DUHA Olomouc) who have long been involved in monitoring large carnivores. The results showed that the killed animal was captured at the end of February, as a young cub, by a camera trap in the central part of the Moravian-Silesian Beskydy; in the territory occupied by a female named Draža - at the age of ten one of the longest monitored lynx in the Beskydy Mountains.
Most likely, it was Draža's offspring who became independent and was looking for the territory of his own in the surrounding mountains. The accident site lies more than 40 kilometres from the place where the animal was born. The young lynx was about 15 months old. Its origin will be further confirmed by genetic analysis.
In Hostýn Hills, the lynx has so far been recorded only sporadically; the nearest permanent population - along the Czech-Slovak border, particularly Beskydy and Javorníky mountains - is estimated at 10 to 12 adults. The death of the lynx near Chvalčov is, therefore, a heavy loss, which will once again slow down the recolonization of habitats at the edge of the Western Carpathians. It is the westernmost documented reach of the Carpathian lynx population, apart from the male who moved from the Beskydy to the Moravian Karst (near Brno) in 2016.
The better protection of the habitats and wildlife corridors of large carnivores, among other animals, is the aim of the international project SaveGREEN launched in July this year. Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (Hnutí DUHA Olomouc) is one of the dozens of partners involved. The key to the success of the project is the cooperation of scientific institutes, non-profit organizations and landowners or land administrators. This was also reflected in the current case: because of the cooperation of all the above-mentioned subjects, it was possible to secure the body of the lynx in time for examination and to determine its origin and confirm the cause of death.
*Friends of the Earth are able to carry out projects on protection and monitoring of large carnivores thanks to the generous support of individual donors – Friends of Large Carnivores. Please join us here.
Writen by MIROSLAV KUTAL
Translated by MARTINA DUSKOVA