Lynx population monitoring in Leaota Mountains

Leaota Mountain and its surrounding forests is an important shelter for large carnivores, and a corridor for their movements between Piatra Craiului and Bucegi Mountains. In order to obtain accurate data to support management decisions, we continued the large carnivore inventory, mapping and evaluation of the conservation status throughout this winter.

The forests of Leaota provide the good habitat for the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx). Although they sometimes also hunt during the day, the lynx is mainly nocturnal or crepuscular.

FCC monitors lynx in the area using camera traps and genetic samples analysis. Both methods are useful to identify individuals either due to their genetic fingerprint or due to their fur patterns. We have installed 12 camera traps in the northern Leaota area and the captured images are quite spectacular. During the last years, camera trapping has been established as a common method for monitoring of wildlife. Cameras set in the forests along trains are activated by a motion sensor and each site has cameras on either side of the trail to take pictures from both sides. Camera trapping is particularly useful for monitoring of elusive and individually recognisable animals, and, since lynx are territorial, this method can provide the information on occupancy and lynx density. Moreover, with camera traps we can also detect family groups.

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