The last resort
On our way back home last saturday we made a stopover in the South of Germany - Bavaria. I had managed to squeeze at least one day of photography out of Hans on this crazy one-week trip that led us 4500 km through half of Europe :-)
I knew that Bavaria harbors the wonderful National Park The Bavarian Forests (Bayerischer Wald), an area known for its vast forests, mountainous terrain and plentiful wildlife. (and the cuckoo clock! :-))
In that National Park there's also a Nature Park, where the animals that still live in Germany roam freely but also the animals that used to live in Germany but are now either extinct or on the red list, find a last resort. There are two 'Tier-FreiGelände', where you can walk amidst animals like Red Deer, Wild Boar (a baby boar used my tripod leg as a back-scratcher :-) and Wisent. The more dangerous animals like wolves and lynxes are behind fences but live in such large areas that they are able to live an almost natural life.
Of course it is kind of tricky to go photographing with your husband, who doesn’t photograph himself, especially when it’s -8C and the park is covered in about half a meter of snow. The adrenalin of seeing these beautiful animals kept me warm alright and I must say that Hans only urged me to walk on when his toes were halfway of freezing solid! :-)
The Lynx used to live in the German forests but in 1847 the last Lynx was shot. In the mid 1950’s occasional sightings of lynxes were reported again mainly coming in from the neighbor country Czechoslovakia. In an unofficial attempt to reintroduce the Lynx in Germany, 5-10 animals were set free in the 70’s but it was met with a very hostile attitude from farmers in the area.
In an official reintroduction program in the 80's 18 lynxes were set free in the neighboring Czech National Park Sumava. Nowadays the Lynx is back in the German forests, although still very rare, mainly alongside that Czech border. The Naturpark Bavarian Forests participates in a Lynx reintroduction program, supported by the European Community, set up for protection, education, raising awareness, breeding and reintroduction of the Lynx in Europe. I keep my fingers crossed for this magnificent Cat!