Study on Illegal Killing of Lynx Published

Despite having protection status, lynx are being killed illegally, a new study by WWF Germany and the University of Bremen reveals. The results show that effective measures are urgently needed to protect the endangered population in the long term.

The legal protection status of the lynx is sufficient. Nevertheless, illegal killings are not regularly prosecuted in reality. This is the result of a study by the University of Bremen, which was published in the "Natur und Recht" journal in the context of the joint EURENI-funded project "Implementation of a Transnational Lynx Action Plan with the Czech Republic" ("Umsetzung eines länderübergreifenden Luchs-Aktionsplans mit Tschechien"), (EURENI_21_D_012).

Wildlife crime against lynx is a threat to the endangered and protected species, especially in the Bavarian-Bohemian border region. According to the WWF, thirteen adult lynx that were loyal to their habitat disappeared without a trace between 2018 and 2019 alone and two more were verifiably killed illegally.

The study notes that, for practical reasons, the authorities usually limit themselves to reactive processing of lynx that are found dead, which subsequently leads to a lack of convictions and a lack of prevention. Jan Philipp Kehl, an expert on wildlife crime at WWF Germany, explains: "As long as the authorities do not act proactively, increase monitoring pressure, and thus generate preventive effects, lynx will continue to be killed illegally. This not only endangers the population in Bavaria."

The study also emphasizes the potential of information provided by the public. So far, citizens have not made frequent use of the opportunity to report crimes and perpetrators to the police. Even without concrete evidence, reports should be made to the police in order to facilitate investigations. Johannes Aschermann, a member of staff at the Research Center for Animal Law and Animal Welfare Law ("Forschungsstelle für Tier- und Tierschutzrecht") at the University of Bremen, states: "Lynx deaths usually pose a criminalistic challenge for the police and often the perpetrator is not identified despite diligent investigative work. Even in such cases, information from the public is a great help, even if it is initially only hearsay or supposed rumors."

Another point highlighted in the study concerns the non-existent right of appropriation of the person authorized to hunt when lynx are found dead. The study states that NGOs and private individuals are allowed to take the carcass in order to pass it on to the relevant authorities for further investigation, for example. Hunting leaseholders, on the other hand, have no legal means of appropriating the carcass, for example to have it taxidermied. Any supposedly conflicting state hunting regulations are unlawful. Prof. Dr. Sönke Gerhold, head of the Research Center for Animal Law and Animal Welfare Law at the University of Bremen, concludes: "The legal protection status of lynx is good. However, the current law is not being implemented, particularly with regard to the supposed right of appropriation for hunting activities. Mandatory requirements under European law are simply being ignored."


Further Information:

Link to the article (in German): „Straftaten gegen Luchse in Deutschland – eine Bestandsaufnahme“ - “Natur und Recht” journal



Professor Sönke Gerhold
Head of the Research Center for Animal Law and Animal Welfare Law at the University of Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-66165
Email: ge_soprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

Lynx on the rock in the Bavarian Forest National Park, Germany
A new study by WWF Germany and the University of Bremen shows that lynx are being killed illegally despite their protection status.