Lynxes might settle in Netherlands again; A "dilemma," Minister says
After the wolf, the lynx may also make a comeback to the Netherlands. The medium-sized cat is already doing well in the border area with Germany and Belgium. “The large predator is, therefore, at the Netherlands’ gate,” said Lars Soerink of ARK Nature Development to Omroep Gelderland. Minister Christianne van der Wal (Nature) called the lynx’s possible return a “dilemma.”
Lynxes used to be common in the Netherlands and surrounding countries until centuries of hunting drove them to the edges of Europe. But since they gained protected species status globally at the end of the large century, the cats have been reintroduced in the Harz and Pfalzerwald in Germany. From there, male lynxes are now steadily expanding their habitats. In the winter of 2018-2019, a lynx was spotted some 20 kilometers from Winterswijk.
Highways and built-up areas form obstacles to the lynx, and the cats are much less adventurous than the wolf. So it may take some time yet, but Soerink thinks the animal will eventually find its way back to the Netherlands. “The Veluwe is large enough with sufficient forest and animals. There is plenty of deer and boar roaming around here. Basically, the Veluwe, as one of the largest forest areas in Western Europe, is potentially a very suitable area,” Soerink said.
Nature Minister Van der Wal is unsure how to feel about this development, calling it a “dilemma” to ANP. The Netherlands now faces the same dilemmas as when the wolf returned, she said. “It is an enrichment for biodiversity, but we also have to get used to it and adapt.” She thinks livestock farmers, in particular, will not be thrilled if lynxes settle in the Netherlands again.