meIn Weserbergland, the lynx is back. The same applies to many other wild animals. More and more indigenous animals are finding their way to southern Lower Saxony. Conservation organizations and forest owners welcome the development. However, the new stock is not yet stable because there is often no genetic exchange with other populations.
In Weserbergland, there have been sightings of lynx and wild cats in recent years. Meanwhile, Han brought back the wild cat. Münden in the south through the Solling and Harz mountains to Salzgitter and Nienburg an der Weser, said Matthias Freiter, spokesman for the Nature Conservation Union in Lower Saxony (Nabu). The lynx is also in its habitat in the region again: “The first breeding of the Soling lynx was documented in 2016.”
Other animals such as red deer, foxes, peregrine falcons, black storks and cranes are also making their way back home in southern Lower Saxony. According to Nabu, otters and beavers slowly return to the heights of Wisser from northern Lower Saxony. Many wild animals were nearly exterminated in past centuries, in part due to heavy hunting.
Nabu spokesman Fritter said the wild cats have returned to the Wesser Heights from the Harz Mountains, where they have not been euthanized. Lynx returning back to Soling also come from the Harz Mountains. They were resettled there as part of the Lynx National Park Project. Between 2000 and 2006, the programme, which has now run for 22 years, has gradually launched 24 incisions from wildlife parks in the Harz Mountains. “We are satisfied with the development. “The Harz lynx is one of the few in Germany to spread,” said project manager Uli Anders.
Currently, the project is mainly concerned with animal monitoring. Recently, the lynx expanded its territory with difficulty. Since the animals do not communicate with other events, sooner or later this will lead to inbreeding among lynxes. “We may eventually get to a point where we have to exchange animals from different populations,” Anders said. The situation in southern Lower Saxony is still fine. However, this trend is recognizable and it is clear that wild animal populations remain endangered.
In order to help the lynx spread, for example, more bridges of wildlife across the roads are desirable. A study by the University of Göttingen, which found low genetic diversity in red deer, came to this conclusion with the goal of increasing exchange between animals. For animals, a low level of gene exchange can have health consequences such as malformations, said researchers from the university’s Department of Wildlife Sciences.
The reintroduction of animals is good news for the ecosystem. This is one of the reasons why it is necessary to promote the spread of wild animals, for example through green bridges, Nabu spokesman Freyter said. Species richness and the functional relationship between predators and prey would maintain ecosystem stability. Prey animals such as lynxes ensure that species with high offspring rates do not inhabit the forest very often. In addition, they will “kill” sick and unresponsive animals and thus ensure a strong gene pool in the animal species involved.
Forest users will not be affected by lynx and wild cats. According to Nabu, wild animals do not pose any danger to humans, many animals are shy and are only active at dusk. Animals can still affect humans indirectly, for example when lynxes or wolves kill sheep.
The forests of Lower Saxony also see the return of wild animals favorably. The animals did not cause any problems with forest management. The beaver tends to stay near bodies of water and is not interested in trees used to make wood, such as fir. Wild cats and lynxes are shy anyway. Breeding times are taken into account.
“It’s important for the animals to have retreats and eat enough food,” state forestry spokesman Michael Rudolph said. The return of cranes and black storks, for example, is promoted by looking into creating tree nests in which birds can breed.