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SKORUPSKI, J., TRACZ, M., TRACZ, M. & ŚMIETANAL, P. (2022)

Assessment of Eurasianlynx reintroduction success and mortality risk in north‑west Poland.

Scientific Reports (2022) 12:12366. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-16589-2www.nature.com/scientificreports

Abstract:

Despite recent local reintroductions of the Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx in central and north‑eastern Poland, the increase in its population was not followed by its westward expansion. To address this problem and restore the lynx population in north‑western Poland, 61 captive‑born individuals of Baltic population origin were released in the province of Western Pomerania in 2019–2021. Prior to their release, all the animals underwent an adaptation training phase. They were then set free according to a hard‑release protocol and subsequently monitored by means of GPS telemetry. In order to assess the short‑term reintroduction success, the survival and causes of death of the released individuals were studied as a function of sex, age, training time, and release time and place. The overall survival rate was 71.15%, the median survival time 202 days. Most mortality, due to environmental factors, i.e. scabies (> 200 days) or traffic collisions (< 200 days), was recorded during the first 300 days following release. Age, year of release and training time were significantly related to survival, indicating that the older the lynx was when released, the better its survival changes. In contrast, the longer the training time, the poorer were the chances of survival. There was no evidence of any effect of sex, month of release or place of release. Based on these results, recommendations were made for the planning of further releases and measures to manage the restored population.

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