Lynx killed by poachers in eastern France

The wild cat is the third lynx thought to be killed by humans in France in the past 12 months, with environmentalists saying hunters are to blame

4 January 2021
By Joanna York

A lynx has been found dead in a forest in Jura, with a local environmental protection centre saying hunters are to blame for killing the rare animal.

The wild cat was found with a gaping wound along its rib cage, as shown in a Facebook video posted by the Centre Athénas. 

The text accompanying the video, written by the centre, reads: “An inquiry will clarify things, and perhaps find who is responsible. [But] what is certain is that the outrageous compliance that the world of hunting benefits from at all levels is the origin of this situation.”

Lynx are rare animals in France 

Lynx were reintroduced into Swiss and French forests in the 1970s after the species almost went extinct in Europe. Experts say there are around 100 of the animals living in forests in Jura. As such each death is a significant blow to the survival of the species in France.

Gilles Moyne, director of the Centre Athénas, told news source FranceInfo the latest lynx death was “intolerable, because [hunters] are people who live with an absence of regulation and who couldn’t care less about rules and biodiversity”.

 

Call for public and legal support for lynx 

In the video posted online, the Centre Athénas has launched the hashtag #balancetonbraco (expose your poacher) to encourage people to expose instances of illegal poaching and animal trapping in France.

Mr Moyne is also calling for increased legal support for wildlife in France. “We are asking for the creation of an environmental court specifically for treating environmental matters,” he said.

Athénas has been vocal about the need for more protection for the wild cats for years, following other lynx deaths that were suspected to have been caused by hunters and road traffic

The lynx, found on December 31 2020, was the third of its species to be found killed by humans in France the past 12 months. Two of the deaths happened in Jura with a third in Vosges, near the French-German border. 

Police investigations into the three incidents are ongoing. 

Read more: Rare lynx found shot dead

'Magical' encounter for wildlife photographer 

While lynx are rarely spotted in France, one tourist who went camping in Jura in summer 2020 found himself within meters of one. The lynx approached amateur photographer Joris Anneheim and his partner as they were cooking a meal, and he was able to capture the encounter on video.

He told news source France bleu: “The lynx is the holy grail for animal photographers like myself. I know photographers who have tracked them for months, even years. So, to see one for nearly a minute was magical. It was one of the best moments of my life.”

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