Lynxes from Estonia to repopulate Poland: WWF
The WWF conservation group said Wednesday it planned to transfer lynxes from Estonia, where the wild felines are thriving, to Poland where the species risks disappearing.
"We want to save the lynx in Poland, where the population is threatened with extinction," said Pawel Sredzinski, a WWF representative running the organisation's lynx repopulation programme in Poland.
"We want to transfer the first animals (from Estonia) to Poland by January or February," he added.
The WWF hopes to introduce 20 to 40 lynxes from Estonia to the Napiwodzko-Ramuckie forests in a remote region of lakes and marshes in northeastern Poland.
With its lush forests and restricted road network, the Baltic state has a flourishing lynx population.
"During the last decade the number has been increasing and nowadays the number is higher than ever before. The current number is estimated to be around 800 individuals," Peep Mannil from Estonia's environment ministry told AFP.
Between 80 to 180 lynxes are killed in Estonia annually by hunters for their fur and skulls.
The WWF has begun fund-raising for the planned transfer of the animals and has asked both Estonian and Polish wildlife authorities for the necessary permits.
In the meantime, the WWF will introduce eight young lynxes born in captivity into the Pisz forest in northeastern Poland.
About 140 Carpathian lynxes (Lynx lynx carpathicus) -- a separate sub-species -- live in mountain ranges in southeastern Poland.
(c) 2010 AFP