The lone lynx that roams the woods of Börzsöny has made another appearance. He seemed strong and energetic despite his advanced age. He knows well that he has no reason to fear anything, not even this one wolf who also inhabits the mountain rage of northern Hungary.
Even though the lynx belongs to the category of medium-sized cats, it still has an impressive robust appearance. If you happen to bump into each other on your mountain hikes, you’ll probably think twice before going “here, kitty kitty”. Europe’s largest cat doesn’t look particularly cuddly at 35 to 40 kg (77 to 88 pounds) and giant paws armed with long, sharp claws. In addition to this, we are blessed with the Carpathian lynx, the largest member of the Eurasian lynx species, native to the forests of Europe, Central Asia and Siberia.
While its conservation status is listed as “Least Concern”, in post-Trianon Hungary the lynx population had declined sharply due to overhunting. However, in 2012, WWF reported that after nearly a century, the lynx had returned to the Hungarian slopes thanks to the ban on hunting wildcats in neighboring Slovakia. The settlement made predators more adventurous and encouraged them to expand their hunting area to Hungary.
The lynx leads a solitary life, sneaking and sulking in the dark and avoiding all sorts of human interaction (no petting, please!) Therefore, spotting it in the wild in broad daylight is a rare opportunity. , even for wildlife exports. The lynx unknowingly walked past their cameras by sheer luck. This year is the second time that the Börzsöny Foundation has shared images of the lynx, which were taken by their automatic cameras. The first images showed the lynx roaming its territory on a freezing February night while the most recent was recorded during the day in late March.
24.hu contacted Balázs Ferenci, a colleague at the Börzsöny Foundation, to find out more about this graceful predator.
The old king of the forest
Those who follow the local news about our lynxes (everyone needs a little political break from time to time) might know that there are a handful of lynxes living in the pristine boreal forests of the mountain range from northern Hungary. Unfortunately, most of them lead a lonely life, there are no traces of recently born kittens. There is currently only one lynx living in the almost 30 hectare protected area of Börzsöny, the same one that was recently recorded by the cameras of the Börszöny Foundation. Since it was spotted on New Year’s Eve and then again on March 23, wildlife experts have named it Szilveszter Botond according to the Hungarian holiday calendar.
Its unique coat pattern indicates that it is the same animal that was also seen on footage from 2017, meaning it must be around 17-18 years old. Despite his advanced age, he still looks strong and energetic.
– noted Balazs Ferenci at 24.hu. And then he added: “Unfortunately, he is still single”.
Botond first appeared towards the end of 2005, when he was still a young man, around 1-2 years old. The expert cannot accurately determine its age, because the pattern of the coat changes as the animal ages. Considering all this, the current age of the lynx should be estimated at around 17-18 years old. The lifespan of the lynx living in the wild is around 15-17 years, which means we are dealing with a real veteran. Luckily he appears to be in excellent shape and condition except for his slightly steeper step which may also be due to the difficult terrain. Other than that, he can beat any youngster when it comes to deer hunting. Botond would certainly make a good catch for any female lynx.
Also read: Wolf numbers have increased dramatically in Hungary – Will they attack people?
Older gentleman looking for a mate
Since its first appearance, Botond appears to be the only big cat inhabitant of Börzsöny Mountain, which is proven by its distinctive coat shown in the images as well as its unique footprint which helps experts identify the animal. Lynx are solitary animals, except during mating season. Male and female lynx only appear together at this time, and as a romantic gesture, they may even temporarily share each other’s territory.
Unfortunately, Botond doesn’t seem to have any luck in love as he has never been seen with a friend. After examining urine and faeces samples, wildlife experts have concluded that once upon a time there were two lynxes that were to rule the Börzsöny Mountains. However, the other lynx was also a male and it must have been a short and unfriendly visit as he was never seen in the area again. Botond still roams snowy slopes and dense forests without his better half.
He regularly crosses paths with one of our cameras, but his movement is unpredictable, so we never know when he’ll show up next.
– added Balazs Ferenci at 24.hu.
Botond knows the Börzsöny mountain like the back of his hand. He can cross a 10 kilometer wide rocky region with its steep valleys and towering mountain ridges all night. He makes his way through difficult mountain roads like an experienced mountaineer.
Depending on the region and the availability of prey, the Eurasian lynx mainly hunts birds and small mammals, but sometimes also roe deer. Small mammals such as hares and rabbits and, in rare cases, smaller predators such as foxes are also on the lynx’s menu. Although they may seem intimidating, lynx are actually fearful of humans. On the other hand, the wolves would not want to cross their path.
The Lone Wolf of the Börzsöny Mountains
A possible encounter between the two predators would be all the more detrimental to the wolf as it does not belong to a protective pack. The single female also shares the love struggles that Botond, the lynx faces. She has been walking alone in the forest for four years now, sometimes passing in front of the cameras of the Börszöny Foundation. His snowy footprints are telltale signs of his presence and show his routes and daily errands. Sometimes wildlife experts also find remains of her prey that she has no one to share with.
Even though wolves are nocturnal animals, an ambitious wildlife photographer managed to snap a few photos of her in daylight.
The expert hopes that the love life of Botond and the unknown wolf will improve soon so that they can produce offspring and thus increase the population. Apart from the lack of available mates, any circumstances would be ideal for this since the Börzsöny Mountain provides a perfect habitat for these two majestic predators.
Read also Gray wolves killed in Hungary without punishment? – 18+
Source: 24.hu, worldwildlife.org