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Shy and elusive, few people will ever see a lynx in the wild. Because of this, Europe’s largest wild cat features less in our mythology and folklore than the wolf or bear, but amongst hunting and farming communities it has a reputation as a killer of both livestock and valuable game. It was relentlessly persecuted for centuries, until it became extinct in much of Europe by the middle of the 20th century.

Much of the lynx’s former forest habitat has now gone, but following legal protection and several reintroductions, its decline has been reversed and there are now small lynx populations in western and central Europe, with healthier numbers in northern Europe. Fragmentation of habitat and isolation of vulnerable populations remain a major threat to the ‘tiger’ of the northern forest.

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Lynx - Photo Peter Cairns/northshots.com