Lynx and wildcat have returned to Vorarlberg

The lynx was considered extinct in the state. There is little evidence of a wild cat. One project examined two animals.

They were considered extinct in Vorarlberg. However, the two-year project was able to demonstrate that lynx are once again roaming the forests of the western federal state of Austria. Wild cats were discovered for the first time. Its results are now presented.

The lynx was exterminated in Vorarlberg in the 19th century. However, in recent years, there are signs of its occurrence again. There was only prehistoric evidence of the existence of the wild cat. So the return of the wildcat is a “natural historical sensation,” according to the state of Vorarlberg, which commissioned the study. It was carried out by the Office of Wildlife Ecology and Forestry in collaboration with the Vorarlberg Hunters Association.

Seven lynxes, three wild cats

For the project, camera traps and decoy sticks were set up to investigate lynx populations. Images were collected and evaluated. Animals were identified by their fur pattern. Those involved in the project recorded wildcats through genetic analysis of their hair. Photos alone are not enough, as it is difficult to distinguish them from a domestic cat.

A total of seven lynxes were found in the monitored areas during the project. There are two young animals from different mothers. They are currently most prevalent in Rätikon and Montafon. They come from a population from Switzerland, where the animals were reintroduced in 2001. Lynxes are the third largest prey animals in Europe after wolves and bears. Characteristic features of cats are their short tail, whiskers and tufted ears.

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The wild cat is one of the rarest and least known domestic mammal species. She lives a very secretive life. It was first detected in Vorarlberg in the spring of 2022. A total of three animals have been found in the last two years. (shave)

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