In the heart of Austria lies an island of wilderness in which lynx were repeatedly reported since 1998: the national park Kalkalpen.
In 2011 the regional lynx population of known two male lynx was supported through the release of the young female ‚Freia’, a wildfang from the swiss Jura population and half a year later by the older male Juro, also a Jura lynx.
In spring 2013 they were joined by ‚Kora’, a several year old female lynx from the same Jura population.
While Juro uses a range of 30.000 ha and Freia 20.000ha, which both are located for about 50% in the national park and 50% outside, Kora established herself on only a tenth of the area of Juro, on 3.000ha, which lies solely outside the national park.
In 2012 Freia and Juro reproduced 3 kitten of which 2 were repeatedly reported, in 2013 Freia and Kora mate with Juro and gave birth to 3 and 2 kitten.
2014 was a critical year for the lynx population of the national park Kalkalpen: Juro, so far the father of all known new born lynx, has disappeard the summer before. As a consequence it was the first year, when inbreeding was likely, through the mating of Freia with probably her son and the siblings Skadi and probably Jago with 1 kitten each. Beside those 2 kitten two more young from Kora and Jago were reported in 2014.
In 2013 the working group LUKA decides to replace Juro in case he doesn’t show up till June 2014. Juro didn’t.
Unfortunately, the provincial hunting association of Upper Austria redraw its former agreement to a new lynx indroduction; only after tough discussions btw the hunters and the National Park management in 2015 the hunters agreed to a new support of the lynx population.
12 born kitten by 5 adults as the starting parents within 4 years one would see this project as a success. However, the discovery of an illegal killed lynx in a freezer not far from national park Kalkalpen, and an overall four more once reported but no more to be found lynx as by July 2015, lead to certain concerns about the space large carnivores need, not only in the landscape, but mainly in the mind and attitudes of the local people sharing the environment.
The good reproduction rate tells its one story about the high quality of Lynx habitat in the national park Kalkalpen region – if men agrees.