The lynx was eradicated across large parts of Central and Western Europe by around 1850. There are several species of lynx throughout the world, but the Eurasian lynx is the one, whose huge range extends across most of Europe, including Germany. The Eurasian lynx still survived in populations in Eastern and Northern Europe and in Northern Asia.
The lynx is representative of large, unfragmented woodland habitats. The general public has great sympathy for this predator and its protection and the protection of its habitat can be easily explained. Thus the lynx is a flagship species for many other species that are worthy of protection but are less well known or less charismatic.
Through public relations work, education measures and the use of the positive image of the lynx, long-term protection of biological diversity is advertised along with the importance of networked habitats. The reintroduction of a predator is about much more than the actual protection of the species. Predation is an important evolutionary and selective process and, because of that, an important part of a functioning ecosystem. The Convention on Biological Diversity includes in it the integrity of ecosystems and its ecological functions and processes.
Predation of large mammals is an ecological function, which nowadays is a missing part in our landscape. Eurasian lynx feed primarily on midsize ungulates like roe deer and chamois where it’s available. Other ungulates like red deer and wild boar are occasionally used as pray. They also take smaller prey such as hares, rabbits, squirrels and mice, but these make up a small portion of the diet when roe deer is available.