Current Status Wildlife

Lynx in Poland. Where can we find them?

Map shows the extent of the lynx range in Poland. Species range data is from the Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe, published by the European Commission, and the original forest cover data is courtesy of Dr RW Mysłajek.

The lynx is perhaps Poland’s most charming carnivore. This enigmatic and mysterious animal of deep forests lives only in the most remote parts of the country: the highest mountains and vast, sparsely populated forext complexes of eastern Poland.

There are some 300 lynx in Poland between two transboundary populations: the Carpathian and Baltic. These number as follows (2011 data):

  • Carpathian – 200 in Poland (9% of total), and a further 2,300 mostly in Romania (57%), Ukraine (16%), Slovakia (15%).
  • Baltic – 100 in Poland (6%), and 1500 in Estonia (49%), Latvia (37%), Lithuania (3%) and Ukraine (5%).

Note: These figures exclude Belarus and Russia.

Despite having been strictly protected for the last 30 years, lynx appear unwilling to recolonise westwards. Individual lynx are sighted periodically in western Poland, but so far none have stuck around permanently. This could be down to their aversion to the increased human presence in western Poland, or the lack of available potential mates. Lynx are known to be fearful of non forested areas; thus unlike for the wolf, largely agricultural and deforested central Poland is an almost impenetrable barrier.

Notice the three forests near Warsaw with lynx present: Kampinos, Włocławek-Gostynin and Bolimow Forests. The lynx living here are descendents from a bizarre reintroduction programme implemented in 1993. Thirty (!) zoo-born lynx were let loose in Kampinos Forest after a short acclimatisation period. The mortality was high – it’s estimated some half of them died from car accidents, poaching and diseases. Nevertheless, this crazy plan appears to have succeeded. Reproduction was documented shortly afterwards, and to this day there is evidence of lynx living in the forest. Moreover, from Kampinos, the lynx migrated, colonising Włocławek-Gostynin Forest in the north, and Bolimow Forest in the south. Though for these forests, accurate population sizes are non-existent.

A more recent reintroduction has been occurring further north in Mazury. The WWF in partnership with various local organisations and stakeholders have been reintroducing lynx since 2006. Here a combination of zoo-born animals and translocants from Estonia have been released.

Overall lynx seem to be doing ok in Poland. Though it’d be nice for them to migrate to western Poland where they would find their favourite prey (roe deer) in abundance, the fact that they’re not dissapearing from the country is positive.  Perhaps given enough time some bold individuals from southern or eastern Poland will migrate through the wildlife corridors and settle the western-central European plain once again.

To find out where Poland’s other iconic species live check out my other status maps of the wolf, bear and bison.

Tom Diserens is a biologist living in the Białowieża Primeval Forest in Poland. He works on the ecology and conservaton of wolves at the Mammal Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He is currently the sole writer on this blog, which he developed to share content on wolves and wildlife in Poland. Follow him on facebook for regular updates from Europe's last primeval forest -

8 comments on “Lynx in Poland. Where can we find them?

  1. Scott Lucado

    Interesting article.

    My wife and I saw a lynx on the outskirts of Tarnow in 2015.

    Got a good look, but not enough time to take a photo.

    Scott Lucado
    Fort Worth, Texas

  2. Mareks Vilkins

    Note: These figures exclude Belarus and Russia, who hunt their lynx but likely host sizable populations within their wild forests.

    No, they do not (for all practical reasons). In Belarus there is no lynx hunting going on at all and in Russia they kill few lynxes ( about 30 in the whole Russian part of the Baltic population).

    • Tom Diserens

      Hi Mareks, thanks for information. I’ve corrected the post.

  3. Sushsuwh


  4. Your girlfrend

    Let’s break up

  5. Toms girlfrend

    Tom should we go on another date

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