The lone lynx that is roaming the woods in 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 that one single wolf that also calls the Northern Hungarian mountain rage his home.
Even though the lynx falls into the medium-sized cat category, it still has an impressive sturdy look. If you happen to bump into each other during your mountain hikes, you will probably think twice before you go “here, kitty kitty”. Europe’s largest cat does not look particularly cuddly with its 35-40 kg (77-88 pounds) heavy built and giant paws armed with long, sharp claws. On top of that, we are blessed with the Carpathian lynx, the largest member of the Eurasian lynx species which is native to European, Central Asian and Siberian forests.
While its conservation status is classified as “least concern”, in post-Trianon Hungary, the lynx population had severely reduced due to overhunting. However, back in 2012, WWF reported that, after nearly a century, the lynx had returned to the Hungarian slopes thanks to a ban on hunting the wild cats in neighbouring Slovakia. The regulation made the predators more adventurous and encouraged them to expand their hunting area to Hungary.
The lynx leads a solitary lifestyle sneaking and sulking in the dark and avoiding all sorts of human interaction (no petting, please!) therefore, spotting it out and about in the wild in broad daylight is a rare opportunity even for wildlife exports. The lynx unwittingly walked in front of their cameras by sheer luck. This year, it is the second time that the Börzsöny Foundation has shared footage of the lynx, which was taken by their automatic cameras. The first footage showed the lynx roaming its territory on a frosty February night while the most recent one was recorded during daytime at the end of March.
24.hu contacted Balázs Ferenci, a colleague of the Börzsöny Foundation, to learn more about this gracious predator.
Those who follow the local news about our lynxes (everyone needs a bit of a break from politics from time to time) might know that there are a handful of lynxes living in the pristine, boreal forests of the Northern Hungarian mountain range. Unfortunately, though, most of them lead a solitary life, there are no records of recently born kittens. There is currently only one lynx living in the protected, nearly 30-hectare Börzsöny region, the same that was recently recorded by the cameras of the Börszöny Foundation. Since he was spotted on the night of New Year’s Eve and then again on the 23rd of March, the wildlife experts named him Szilveszter Botond according to the Hungarian name day calendar.
The unique pattern of his coat gives it away that it’s the same animal that was also seen on a 2017 footage which means he must be around 17-18 years old. Despite his advanced age, he still looks strong and energetic.
– said Balázs Ferenci to 24.hu. And then he added: “sadly, though, he is still single”.
Botond first showed up towards the end of 2005, when he was still a young fellow, around 1-2 years old. The expert cannot precisely determine his age, as the coat pattern changes as the animal grows older. Taking all that into consideration, the current age of the lynx must be estimated to be about 17-18 years old. The lifespan of the lynx living in the wild is approximately 15-17 years which means we are dealing with a true veteran. Luckily, he seems to be in excellent shape and condition, except for his slightly stiffer walk which can be due to the difficult terrain as well. Other than that he can beat any youngsters when it comes to hunting for deer. Botond would certainly make a great catch for any female lynx.
Ever since his first appearance, Botond seems to be the only big cat inhabitant of the Börzsöny mountain which is proven by his distinctive coat shown in the footages as well as his unique footprint that helps experts to identify the animal. Lynxes are solitary animals, except during the mating season. Male and female lynxes only appear together in this period, and as a romantic gesture, they may even share each others’ territory temporarily.
Unfortunately, Botond does not seem to be lucky in love as he has never been spotted with a lady friend. Upon examining urine and feces samples, the wildlife experts concluded though that once upon a time two lynxes must have ruled 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 again in the area. Botond still roams the snowy slopes and dense forests without his other half.
He regularly crosses one of our cameras, but his movement is unpredictable, therefore, we never know when he shows up next.
– added Balázs Ferenci to 24.hu.
Botond knows the Börzsöny mountain like the back of his paw. He can cross back and forth the entire 10-kilometre wide rocky region overnight with its steep valleys and towering mountain ridges. He makes his way through the challenging mountain routes like an experienced alpinist.
Depending on the region and availability of prey, the Eurasian lynx mostly hunts birds and smaller mammals, but occasionally roe deers as well. Small mammals such as hares and rabbits and, in rare instances, smaller predators such as foxes are also on the lynx’s menu. Even though they may look intimidating, lynxes actually fear humans. On the other hand, wolves would not want to cross their paths.
A potential encounter between the two predators would be especially detrimental to the wolf since she does not belong to a protective pack. The single female also shares the romantic struggles Botond, the lynx faces. She has been roaming the forest by herself for fours years now, occasionally passing the cameras of the Börszöny Foundation. Her snowy footprints are telltale signs of her presence and shows her daily routes and errands. At times, wildlife experts also find some leftovers of her preys that she has no one to share with.
Even though wolves are nocturnal animals, an ambitious nature photographer has managed to snap some photos of her in daylight.
Expert hopes that both Botond’s and the unknown female wolf’s love life will soon turn for the better so they can produce offsprings and thus expand the population. Other than the lack of available partners, all circumstances would be ideal for that since the Börzsöny mountain makes a perfect habitat for these two majestic predators.
Source: 24.hu, worldwildlife.org