Posted on 22 April 2016
A few years ago, Croatian scientists followed for months the lives of two female lynx a mother and daughter named Tisa and Luna. They lived in Gorski Kotar, also called “the green lungs of Croatia” a mountainous area which is the richest large carnivore habitat in the region with animals such as bears and wolves.
A few years ago, a group of Croatian scientists followed for months the lives of two female lynx, a mother and her daughter named Tisa and Luna. They lived in Gorski Kotar, also called “the green lungs of Croatia” a mountainous area with the richest population of large carnivores such as bears and wolves.
Luna was born between March and April. Her siblings probably died, as up to 50% of lynx kittens do not survive their first year.
Tisa raised Luna on her own, as males are usually leaving after the breeding season. She offered Luna all the attention she needed right after birth. For about 5 months Tisa nursed her cub, teaching her how to find food and all the skills she needed to survive.
At about 10 months of age, Luna went her own way. It was time for her to find a territory and start a new and independent life and for Tisa to begin a new mating season.
This beautiful experience had a sudden dramatic turn. After 8 months of monitoring, Tisa was tragically hit by a car and died. Unfortunately, this is something not unusual in Croatia where very little is being done to adapt road infrastructures to the lynx habitat.
Her death deeply affected the team of scientists, who said: “The Dinaric lynx population living in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina is endangered and therefore the loss of each individual is threatening the entire population survival.
Luna will surely raise her kittens like her mother did, with love and care, sharing with them all the skills she knows to preserve them from the dangers she instinctively can predict. Unfortunately, some dangers are hard to overcome even with the best upbringing.
The lynx population is declining in Croatia despite legal protection.
Road accidents, poaching, the lack of food and genetic problems are major threats for the feline. The size of the population is currently estimated to be 30-50 animals only.
This story was produced by WWF with Magda Sindičić, assistant professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb.