Picture of Balkan lynx, one of the rarest wild cat species

The Balkan lynx is a subspecies of the Eurasian lynx, the biggest of the lynx species, of which there are three more: bobcat, Canada lynx, Iberian lynx. I am told that the Balkan lynx is as rare as the Amur tiger, Iberian lynx or Florida panther (puma). Does the Florida panther exist anymore? They introduced pumas from the West so there is probably no purity in the genes. The Iberian lynx was saved from extinction by e.g. banning people from trapping in their habitat and protecting their habitat in southern Spain and Portugal.

Balkan lynx
Balkan lynx. Photo: Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA) and the Elbasan Regional Administration of Protected Areas. I have improved the image quality.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The Balkan lynx is considered one of the rarest wild cat species. The picture was taken on 16th February 2020 in Albania near the border with northern Macedonia. Two more were recorded so three in all have been camera trapped. In fact, there is a video of this cat which Christopher Mounsey of Balkan Tracks pointed out to me:

I’ll quote Christopher who kindly provided me with some more information about this picture of a Balkan lynx:

Up until this photo/video was taken, reproduction of lynx in Albania had only been confirmed in the Munella mountains. These new photos were taken in the mountains somewhere around Guri i Zi, a small village near the city of Elbasan, and significantly south from Munella.

The precarious state of this cat’s survival in the wild due to people shooting it for entertainment and chopping down their home: the forest.The Times reports that the species has been on the brink of extinction for the past century. There are believed to be 50 left.

The camera traps were set up by Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA) and the Elbasan Regional Administration of Protected Areas. The Balkan lynx is Albania’s third largest predator. Click this link to go to the website of PPNEA, an environmental NGO in Albania who run the cross border Balkan Lynx Recovery Programme on the Albanian side. MES run the project in North Macedonia.

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