The Lynx is any of the four species (Eurasian lynx, Canada lynx, Iberian lynx, Bobcat) within the Lynx genus. The name "lynx" originated in Middle English via Latin from the Greek word “λύγξ“.
The Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) is a medium-sized cat native to Siberia, Central, East, and Southern Asia, North, Central and Eastern Europe. The Balkan lynx subspecies can be found in several Balkan countries and possibly Greece. The lynx has been widespread in several territories in the Balkans; yet,it is extremely rare in Greece. The lynx use to be more common on the mountains of southern and northern Pindos and on the mountains of Macedonia and Thrace until the large scale deforestation of the alluvial plain, after 1950.
Over the last decades, the extreme reduction of the lynx distribution in Greece has become more than just concerning. The last reports of recorded sightings were in the region of Thrace 40 years ago. Today, there are just scarce reports of lynx observations but no actual proof, leading to the fact that the present status of the lynx is uncertain, especially in regions of the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace.
The alluvial plain of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace is the largest riverine forest in Greece and one of the largest in the Balkans. Furthermore, a significant part of the forest has been restored to its natural status and its restoration is still continuing. The population of several endangered species has increased, while the human presence has been minimized. Moreover, lynx sightings have been reported again in the area, especially in the regions of Evros and Nestos.
The hunting of lynx has been prohibited by law since 1937. Today, hunting is prohibited by the hunting law (s. 258, par. 2z of LD 86/69, as amended by s. 7 of Act 1775/75). The lynx in Greece is also protected under the Bern and the CITES Conventions.
To further promote the importance of the re-establishing the Lynx presence in Greece, the UNESCO Chair on Conservation and Ecotourism of Riparian and Deltaic Ecosystems (Con-E-Ect) has established the “Investigation of the Lynx distribution in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Greece” Program.
More specifically, this Program aims to investigate the existence of the lynx and includes actions related to:
- Observation and protection of lynx population and distribution, if any.
- Observation and protection of lynx environment (flora and fauna).
- “Lynx Seminars” for the local communities (education, training and response).
- Establishment of international partnerships that can promote the re-establishment of lynx in Greece
- Hosting of the 1st International Conference on Rare and Endangered Species of Deltaic and Riparian Ecosystems”.
- Studies to connect the promotion of the lynx and the economic growth of the communities in the region through ecotourism opportunities
Duration: The Program is suggested to last for one (1) year
Funds: The completion of this Program requires minimum 15000 euros.
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