LIFE Lynx project prevented the extinction of the Dinaric SE-Alpine lynx population

Posted - Jun 6, 2024

Successful translocation of Carpathian lynx and their integration in the remnant population in Dinaric Mountains and SE Alps was the core activity of the LIFE Lynx project. Understanding the baseline genetic and demographic status of the reintroduced Dinaric lynx population and close surveillance of the reinforcement process over the period of 4 years enabled us to assess the final effects of the reinforcement.

At the population level we are observing a 44% increase in the mean population density over the Dinaric Mountains with a similar increase in the abundance of lynx, and an enlargement of the distribution area, especially through the creation of the stepping stone population in the SE Alps. Most importantly,  the inbreeding dropped below the critical level, and corresponding fitness is expected to be more than double its pre-reinforcement value. These early detected effects of the reinforcement, are confirming the project’s success in preventing the extinction of the Dinaric – Southeastern Alpine lynx population.

The figure shows that due to the translocations of healthy lynx to the Dinaric Mountains and the SE Alps (blue line) the inbreeding dramatically dropped and reached an acceptable level.


Our work was carefully planned from the beginning and consisted of:

  • Establishing the baseline status of the endangered population: 

Baseline (pre-reinforcement) genetic status of SE Alpine and Dinaric Lynx population (EN, pdf)

Baseline demographic status of SE Alpine and Dinaric lynx population (EN, pdf)

  • Implementing a comprehensive transboundary monitoring program alongside the translocations and

LIFE Lynx – Lynx Surveillance of the reinforcement Reports

  • Planning for maintaining the long-term viability of the reinforced population: 

Guidelines for ensuring the long-term viability of lynx in the Dinaric Mountains and SE Alps (EN, pdf)


To all future reinforcement projects we would recommend following these steps. More details in the report “Development of the population and impact of the reinforcement program with experiences gained and recommendations for future lynx reinforcement projects”