What drives habitat selection of Eurasian lynx in Europe?

Posted - Jan 27, 2022

A recent study, part of a large collaborative network, evaluated habitat selection of Eurasian lynx across continental Europe and discovered interesting patterns across different populations and spatial scales. The study included data from the Dinaric Mountains and was co-authored by researchers from LIFE Lynx team.

Eurasian lynx is a largest felid in Europe, with ability to persist in human-dominated landscapes. Therefore, studying how human disturbances shape large carnivore distribution is important for their conservation and of special interest in Europe. The present study used a unique dataset of 125 individuals from 9 study areas across Europe to understand what drives habitat selection of lynx at multiple scales. In all study areas, lynx avoided human settlements and roads when selecting habitat at a larger scale (landscape), and selected areas with higher prey abundance and shelter at a more local level (home range). Interestingly, the lynx in the Dinaric Mountains at the local level exhibited lower avoidance of human settlements compared to other study areas. This could be explained by the lower density in human settlements among the available forested landscapes in our region.

This study provides very relevant information for conserving the Eurasian lynx in human-dominated landscapes, and it is the first study generalizing habitat selection behavior of a large carnivore species at a continental scale.

For more information about the study, read the article :

Ripari, L. et al. 2022. Human disturbance is the most limiting factor driving habitat selection of a large carnivore throughout Continental Europe. – Biological Conservation, 266: 109446.