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2019. július 18.

The new girl in town

Understanding the importance of the preservation of the Eurasian lynx, the Budakeszi Wildlife Park, in Hungary, has brought in Rita — for the joy of the other lynx resident, Csabi.

(Photo credit: Linda Surányi / Budakeszi Vadaspark)

By Jeanne Arthaud

Recently, the Budakeszi Wildlife Park welcomed a new resident: Rita, an 8-year-old Eurasian lynx born on 15 May 2010 in Riga, Latvia and up-until-now, proud resident of the Nyíregyháza Zoo. The female arrived at the Budakeszi Wildlife Park after the death of Hubert, a 23-year old-timer whose passing was regretted by all who knew him, lynx and humans alike. Rita, still, was to meet Csabi, the other lynx of the zoo, after the necessary adaption phase to her new hometown.

The newcomer has, nevertheless, required some work from the zoo staff, since she has never before benefited from personalized training. After this period, Csabi’s games and hiding places will provide enough space and a stimulating environment for both. Certainly, this cohabitation is a real challenge since lynxes have a solitary lifestyle and are not used to share their territory. But as Csabi was neutered, it is expected they will have a whole life face to face to get to know each other and live very peacefully.

A fundamental aspect to understand on this context is that contemporary zoos and wildlife parks aim to promote animal conservation, educate people, and support further wildlife research. The three issues are entwined to ensure animals are housed to the highest possible standards of welfare. Staff is dedicated to providing species-specific housing, appropriate diets and husbandry to ensure that the animals’ lives are as natural as possible within captivity. For the Carpathian lynx, whose population is threatened by human activity, zoos can be an adequate tool to help preserve the species for a potential future reintroduction to wildlife.

Important enough, another critical way to act on the conservation of the species is to intervene directly in the natural environment, trying to minimize the anthropic impact on the environment. Such is the goal of the ConnectGREEN project, funded by the Interreg Danube Transnational Programme and being implemented in the Danube – Carpathian region since 2018.