The Palatinate Forest is one of the largest interconnected forest areas in Germany, and this is where a subpopulation of lynx shall be established. The area is part of the transboundary biosphere reserve Palatinate Forest / Vosges du Nord with a total area of 302,800 ha. On the German side the area amounts 179,000 ha, including 36,000 ha of Habitats Directive areas.
The reintroduced lynx might migrate to the northern Vosges to be in a direct genetic exchange with subpopulations in the middle and southern Vosges, as well as in the Jura and the Alps. This would make the Palatinate Forest a partial habitat of a large, stable metapopulation of lynx. After surveys on behalf of the county Rhineland-Palatinate, it was found that the Palatinate Forest and Vosges du Nord areas are suitable habitat for the reintroduction of the lynx (Van Acken & Grünwald 1977, Wotschikowsky, U. 1990, ÖKO-LOG 1998). An active release of lynx on the German side of the biosphere reserve is recommended (Herrmann et al. 2004 und 2010).
Due to the conservative dispersal behavior of lynx, it is not expected that a lynx population will establish on its own in the Palatinate Forest or in the area of the northern Vosges.
- Reintroduction of 20 lynx over several years. The animals will come from healthy populations in Switzerland and the Carpathians from 2016 – 2020. The animals will be telemetrically monitored.
- Encouraging cooperation between german and french stakeholder (hunters, shepherds and other livestock farmers, authorities, foresters, nature conservation associations, farmers and landowners) and to increase acceptance for the lynx by different groups by establishing a “lynx parliament”.
- Development of a local masterplan for the lynx in the biosphere reserve under consideration of hoofed game (especially roe deer) and livestock.
- Development of an action plan to connect the Palatinate Forest with other highlands in Rhineland-Palatinate and optionally with other counties.
- Scientific monitoring and evaluation of the reintroduction process in cooperation with scientists of the FAWF Trippstadt.
- Additional qualification for voluntary lynx monitoring in the Palatinate Forest for collecting data.
- Create awareness for the acceptance of lynx among the local public through presentations, promotional offers and travelling exhibitions.
- Development of prevention measures against lynx and help with the application for compensation out of the Rhinland-Palatinate fund for killed livestock.