Monday, April 7, 2008

The Lynx Returns to Italy

Growing up, the lynx was my favorite animal. Who the hell has a favorite animal? Well, we were kids - we had favorite everythings! - and I had a subscription to National Geographic World, so I was always getting carried-away by things like that. I remember wanting to go to Clown College for years after the issue featuring that arrived...

But the lynx is nearing extinction; wildlife conservationists think there may be as few as 100 left in the Swiss Alps. They were nearly hunted to extinction in the early 20th-Century by hunters, as well as farmers who feared for the safety of their livestock.

One lynx that was tagged in February after being caught in Switzerland crossed the border into Italy. Conservationists say it does not pose a threat to livestock, as it preys primarily on small animals, such as wild hares, but they are concerned for the cat's safety, as many farmers in the area have not taken simple precautions, such as electric fences and dogs trained to protect cattle. Lynx do sometimes prey on animals as large as deer.

Lynx were reintroduced in Switzerland in the 1970s.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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