dimanche 27 novembre 2011

The Lynx Network in France

            Originally, it was a commission established in France in 1936, following the appearance of the lynx in France, to appraise the damage caused by the big cat to other animals. From April 1989 the Ministry of Environment put the ONCFNational Hunting and Wildlife Agency – in charge to lead the commission to monitor the lynx population in France
            I summarize the Network operation below:

Now the Lynx Network has over 1 000 people with different sensitivities (vet, forest ranger, association for nature conservation, naturalist, wolf-hunting lieutenant, hunters…etc) known as “correspondents”.
These people are trained to identify signs of the presence of lynx (prey remains, hairs, footprint…etc) and take testimonies on adapted forms.

If you see a lynx or signs of its presence, they are the ones you have to contact. You should never handle a dead lynx for example; it is protected specie so only a person authorized of the Lynx Network can.

            Then they pass all their signs at departmental director (the Network is currently present in 18 department of Alps, Jura and Vosges).
The ONCFS centralizes and analyzes the data collected each semester and distributes a newsletter twice a year, open to all: the information bulletin.

The information bulletin of the Lynx Network was an information and linking document for the correspondents. Over time, still retaining its original spirit, it became the only general information document on the monitoring of the species in France.
An annual meeting hosted by the national coordinator takes place in each department.

The method of collecting signs of the presence of lynx is standardized and the success of this monitoring entirely depends on the mobilization of the correspondents of the Network.

The absence of signs of the presence of lynx does not mean the absence of lynx : it can be a sign of low pressure of observation or a lack of monitoring (ex. : places which are hard to reach in the Alps).

jeudi 24 novembre 2011

BBC Wildlife Camera-trap Photo of the Year 2011: The Winners!

Photo by KORA

This photo is the lucky winner of 2011 BBC Wildlife (category camera-trap photo). The lynx was caught by camera trap in Switzerland. You can view the other winning photos on the website BBC Wildlife:

First days in Sweden!

Here we go! Here I am in Uppsala (30min from Stockholm)! I arrived Friday and find housing is more difficult than expected but do not despair! No snow yet...
My first appointment is scheduled for November 25th at Grimsö Wildlife Research Station with Guillaume Chapron.
This station is the Department of Conservation Biology of SLU (Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences)

Henrik Andrén is also part of this centerand has published numerous interesting scientific papers, including the methods for monitoring population. I hope to meet him too.

On the agenda of future meetings : an association of nature conservation and several reindeer herders of Lapland. I will see who will be better able to accept me in their nomadic journey.

Two lynx were victims of a collision car in the region of Doubs (France)

The corpse of a young lynx was discovered on the night of Monday 17th to Tuesday, October 18th in the area of Fuans (25 - Doubs) towards the "Fins".

Last Sunday, October 23 to 19h, a young 23 years old man hit a female lynx on the main road of "Les Gras". On Monday morning, a guard of the ONCFS (National Hunting and Wildlife Agency) came to see the death of the animal and recover its body.

 Human activity is now the leading killer of adult lynx in France so pay attention and drive carefully!

mardi 22 novembre 2011

Example of a livestock attacked by lynx in Jura (Eastern of France)

Parcel protected by Emma, a female guard dog
Alain Revil owns 400 sheeps in Mirebel (Jura) and for him, farming is the only source of income.
All his plots are both next to houses (of Bonnefontaine or of Mirebel) and both next to the edge of the forest.
« We are in the Jura and the forest is obviously very dominant » he says, « despite the proximity of houses, this does not prevent the lynx from approaching animals and attack them. »
During the year 2011, Alain Revil suffered 18 attacks of lynx of which 15 since september. He does not count anymore the observation sheet of attacks completed by the ONCFS (National Hunting and Wildlife Agency).
There is specially problems on one of the plot : it has an aera of 10ha (= 100 000m2), is in the woods and was the best place for lynx attacks this year.
When there is an attack, Alain Revil contact the National Guard of the ONCFS.
note the class of the sheep that depends on age, sex…
-  complete the observation sheet and raise the animal's throat's skin soulèvent to see the bite marks
- if there is any doubt, indemnisation may change
- the indemnisation may vary depending on the flock-book (studbook for sheep and goats in race) of the animal
0 to 6 months : 99€
6 to 12 months : 121€
Implemented solutions to these attacks
Alain Revil was the first to receive for one year as an experiment, a three years-old sheep dog : Domino. When Alain Revil resumed the farm in 2009, the breeder had undergone previous ten attacks. The association "Pôle Grands Prédateurs" (Pole Large Predators) came to propose the establishment of a sheep dog.
« I was pretty skeptical.In the region where I come from (Dauphiné-Alpes), these dogs become aggressive after a wolves attack, no one can approach them anymore...», Alain Revil says.
         Today, Alain Revil could no longer do without sheep dog. Emma, female Pyrenean Mountain Dog, watch right now on one of the herds.
No sheep dog's attack on passers has been identified in the Jura up to now. The sheep dog is not prepared for attacking, but for deterrence. If an intruder approaches the herd, it barks and comes between the intruder and the herd.
Emma devant l'enclos
The herd takes a few days to get used to the dog's presence, but soon, a link is created. Sheep are much like the dog's family, it is part of the herd.
Other experiments on protective measures have been carried out, due to a budget of 8 000€ :
- Safety net
- Electrified wire fencing
- Enterprise clearing
But sometimes, all these measures are still not sufficient to deter the lynx.
There were two attacks last spring (2011) in a herd where was installed a safety net and a sheep dog, on the famous plot of 10ha.
In sheep, the herd is divided into four troops:
- breeding
- rams
- lambs
- young males
And one last herd with the reforms. Otherwise, it is this herd that Alain put ont on the parcel at risk.
The farmer feels powerless and would like things are moving. Facing the new context of the arrival of the lynx, he believes that compensation should adapt to situations like his, called "center of attacks"
To be continued…

lundi 21 novembre 2011

Meeting of Raphaël FARRUGIA - October 6th 2011

Breeder sheep in Bonnefontaine (Jura - France)
Livestock called "L'agneau de nos contrées" (The lamb of our country)

Raphael FARRUGIA has a sheep and mainly produces meat. He settled in recent years in Bonnefontaine and suffered for the first time a lynx attack on his flock last spring.

The farmer permits me to get a first overview of the steps a farmer has to do when is attacked:

When Raphael found a dead sheep on one of his plots, he contacted ONCFS (National Hunting and Wildlife Agency): an agent then went on site to demonstrate the attack: photos
are taken and a report is completed objectively.
Raphael said that, in the case of his farm, one attack does not have much influence: for him it's part of the vagaries of farming and has no significant impact on income.
In addition, if the attack is proven, the farmer receives an indemnity for each animal killed in compensation.
In my research, I learned that the amount of compensation depends on the characteristics of the animal's genetic, age, or if the sheep is full or not.

To set up a patou (sheeper dog) in such a breeding wouldn’t make sense because it would not be profitable for Raphael (he has very few attacks).
Most of his plots are far from the edge of the forest and close to homes.
Parcel near the forest in Bonnefontaine
        Around Bonnefontaine, it would be a young lynx which comes regularly in the commons. A snapshot of this lynx was made by the ONCFS with a camera trap placed next to the remains of the sheep [the lynx does not devour its prey at once but gradually, starting with the sides]. It can be observed also on snapshots, a fox came to take a part of the prey left by lynx.

In the case of the raising of Raphael, the lynx is not a concern because it brings little damage to the breeder but when the lynx attacked repeatedly in a herd, it becomes more complex.

This is for example the case of Alain Revil, breeder and also to Bonnefontaine I meet tomorrow (Tuesday, October 11).

To be continued...

Next Article: Meeting with Yoann Aguer, Chamber of Agriculture of Franche-Comté.

A french report about wolves and lynx

A french report went on October 5th on France 3 in the TV show "Enquête de région" (Region Investigation) : the subject was "In the footsteps of the wolf."

It goes around the current problem of wolves and draws a parallel with the lynx (see minute 36' of the report). This survey is very interesting to watch because the main categories of persons involved in the lynx appear:

(in order of appearance)

- Emmanuel Cretin from the association LPO Franche-Comte
- Gilles Moyne, director of the care center ATHENAS
- Patrice Raydelet, founder of the association “Pôle Grands Prédateurs” (Pole Large Predators)
This is the link (it's in french):

     Coming soon, the first data I found after the meeting of:
FARRUGIA Raphael, a sheep farmer in Bonnefontaine (Jura) and Chairman of the Union Sheep in Franche-Comté