The French National Hunters’ Federation (FNC – www.chasseurdefrance.com) has partnered with 15 Departmental and Regional Federations from the mountainous regions of Vosges, Jura, and the Alps to launch a national information programme on the return of the Eurasian lynx to this geographical area. The Eco-Lynx project is supported by the French Biodiversity Office as part of the eco-contribution initiative.
The Eurasian lynx gradually disappeared from France between the 17th and early 20th centuries, and made a return in the 1970s. Since then, this species has been strictly protected. Known for its elusive nature, the lynx has been gradually recolonizing the eastern mountain ranges of France: Vosges, Jura, and the Alps, which has been a major conservation success for the species.
The Eco-Lynx program consists of three components:
- Monitoring populations, by using camera traps in collaboration with local hunting associations.
- Studying the populations of roe deer and chamois within the species’ range for effects.
- Information and communication.
The contribution of French hunters in conserving nature and combatting biodiversity loss is key to the future. They contribute to conservation efforts by monitoring species populations and assisting in the management of large carnivores throughout Europe. The largest populations of large carnivores exist in areas where they are also highly valued by Europe’s hunting community. This is particularly relevant in the case of the Brown Bear, Lynx, and Wolf conservation and management.
Hunters make a significant contribution to the monitoring and management of large carnivores across Europe. The importance of their work is recognised by organisations such as the IUCN LCIE (Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe), the Bern Convention, and the EU’s Large Carnivore Platform. Active participation from hunters in the conservation and management of species such as the Brown Bear, lynx, and wolf has contributed to the success of these initiatives.
The Eco-Lynx Program and the ECOLEMM Project
The Eco-Lynx program is a crucial component of the larger ECOLEMM project, which aims to enhance conservation efforts and to deepen understanding of the Eurasian lynx, its habitat, and its interactions within the ecosystem. The ECOLEMM project employs a multifaceted approach to lynx conservation, incorporating advanced scientific methodologies and data analysis techniques to better comprehend the species’ behavior, population dynamics, and habitat preferences.
Central to the ECOLEMM project’s success is the valuable input from hunters, who play a critical role in monitoring and managing the species. By collaborating with local hunting organisations, the project leverages the expertise and knowledge of hunters to track lynx populations and assess the effectiveness of conservation measures. Additionally, the ECOLEMM project studies the populations of prey species, such as roe deer and chamois, using methods like population surveys, telemetry, and genetic analyses to understand the ecological implications of lynx predation on these species.
Furthermore, the ECOLEMM project contributes to the development of evidence-based conservation policies and management strategies, ensuring that the preservation of the Eurasian lynx aligns with broader biodiversity conservation goals. Through the integration of scientific research, stakeholder involvement, and adaptive management, the ECOLEMM project, together with the Eco-Lynx program, paves the way for more effective and sustainable conservation efforts for the Eurasian lynx and its ecosystem into the future.