BUDAPEST – (AFP) – After more than a century, lynxes have returned to northern Hungary thanks to a ban on hunting the wild cats in neighbouring Slovakia, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said Thursday.
A young two- or three-year-old has been photographed in the wooded hills and mountains of the Aggtelek national park, 250 kilometres (155 miles) northeast of Budapest, the WWF said.
According to the green non-governmental organisation, which has regularly photographed the animal since September with hidden cameras filming round the clock, the population comprises at most around a dozen animals.
“The appearance of the lynx in the Hungarian slopes of the Carpathians is linked to a ban on hunting lynxes in Slovakia which appears to have made the predators more adventurous, and encouraged them to expand their hunting areas into Hungary,” it said.
WWF intends to capture some of the animals to fit them with electronic collars in order to track their movements and define the borders of their territory in Hungary.
The organisation has also begun a “virtual adoption” programme costing between 6,000-10,000 forints (25-40 euros, $28-46). “Foster parents” receive a certificate, a cuddly lynx toy, a WWF magazine and updates on the development of the project.
An ideal Christmas present, says the WWF