A skeleton as a reminder – Bavaria

The lynx Alus was discovered almost five years ago near Bad Reichenhall in Berchtesgadener Land without a head and without paws: it fell victim to poachers – like many of its own kind. Now scientists have reconstructed the skeleton from original bones. The valuable preparation is now being shown to the public irregularly, for example at educational events in the “Haus der Berge” in Berchtesgaden, said director Ulrich Brendel. A permanent exhibition is not planned. “It is very expensive to protect the preparation,” said Brendel. “It’s also about raising awareness for the topic of poaching. We hope that we can use the drastic depiction to make people think,” the biologist explained further.

The lynx named Alus came from Switzerland. He was caught in 2014 when he was about five years old, tagged and released in northeastern Italy. “From there he went on a journey, maybe he was looking for a female,” said Brendel. The transmitter was lost on the journey. In 2015, Alus triggered a photo trap in the border area between Bavaria and Austria. He was clearly identified based on the fur markings. A little later he appeared in the district of Berchtesgadener Land. The last photo of him is from May 2017. Then he was discovered dead and badly beaten at the Saalachsee near Bad Reichenhall. An excavator had uncovered the carcass during gravel work. Experts found fragments of bullets in it. According to a forensic examination, the lynx was shot in the chest, Brendel said. To this day, it is still unclear who mauled Alus and what his motive was. A reward of 15,000 euros was offered in 2017 for information, without success.

For years, lynxes have been at home again in some regions of Bavaria, especially in the Bavarian Forest. But not to everyone’s delight: the wild cats are poached again and again. Unlike wolves, according to Brendel, lynxes only kill livestock in exceptional cases. As with wolves, a frequent cause of death is traffic accidents. According to the State Office for the Environment, native lynxes are about the size of shepherd dogs, but they are significantly lighter at 17 to 26 kilograms. According to the agency, they are on the red list of endangered species in Germany, and in Bavaria they are considered critically endangered.

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