But who wants the skin of the lynx, a fourth animal killed since 2020?

Sad discovery in the Jura massif, in the canton of Frasne (Doubs). A female boreal lynx was found dead, killed by firearm on September 16th. This feline, however, is an endangered species in France and therefore protected. The culprits risk a lot, because it is an offense punishable by a maximum sentence of “three years in prison and a fine of 150,000 euros”. Nevertheless, since 2020, it is the fourth lynx killed by firearm. “And it is feared that there are other corpses that have not been discovered. Probably concealed by the culprits who hasten to hide them so as not to be identified”, worries Olivier Guder, vice-president lynx coordinator of the national association for the protection and conservation of bears, wolves and lynx. in France (Ferus).

Poaching, “illegal destruction” as the terminology for protected species, he explains, can endanger the species. ” It’s serious. There are very few breeding adults. Especially when it’s a female, because her young can be left to fend for themselves. Also, the association is preparing, as it has done for the three other proven cases of destruction since 2020, to file a complaint. Three investigations, but so far “no culprit has been identified. We hope that for the past two years, there have been leads and that they will succeed, but for the moment we have no information and we are very disappointed,” the association deeply regrets.

The lynx rarely attacks domestic animals

Disappeared in France at the beginning of the 20th century before being reintroduced, the Eurasian lynx is “only present in the East, mainly on the Jura massif, a little on the Vosges, a little in the Alps and occasionally in Burgundy and in the Massif Central”, details Olivier Guder. Protected, monitored, the animal has been the subject, since the spring, of the first 2022-2026 action plan in its favour. This aims to reduce the threats hanging over it, but also to facilitate population exchanges between the massifs or even to take into account the damage that the lynx could cause on domestic herds, without forgetting to improve coexistence. with human activities.

An animal, which, unlike the wolf, “inspires admiration” more than fear in those who have had the chance to cross it even if the breeders remain “cautious, suspicious, in relation to the presence of this kind of predators potential”, admits Olivier Guder. But the risk of attack has nothing to do with what the wolf may represent. There is not the same fear or the same resentment and the lynx enjoys “rather a good reputation, assures Olivier Guder. It attacks very few domestic herds and there are only a few documented attacks on sheep or goats, but this remains anecdotal”.

An animal that arouses admiration

And to smooth things over, the Ferus association has been carrying out a communication operation for three years on the Jura and Vosges mountains, called Parole de lynx. “Volunteers will both give communication on the lynx and question the population to find out their perception of the lynx. Of 700 people questioned this summer, 88% are in favor of its presence. It is a species that is generally admired, and has a very positive image. »

In the sights of the association? “It’s rarely mushroom seekers or hikers who walk around with firearms,” ​​smiles Olivier Guder. Some, a very small minority, consider it a dangerous hunting competitor since the Eurasian lynx mainly preys on roe deer and chamois. But it only takes three or four lynx killed illegally each year to endanger the population, a species that is still in France in danger of extinction with a number of breeding adults that remains low. Every loss is a threat to the survival of the species. »

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