Page 18 - FIS World December 2020
P. 18

An Exotic Visitor
A ‘first-person’ account of a wild lynx’s visit to FIS
Icould tell I caused quite a bit of commotion on that Friday morning in September when I visited FIS! All I really wanted was to find a quiet spot to sun myself
after a long night on the prowl in the Taunus. As it turned out, the FIS sports field was a poor choice of location. No sooner had I made myself comfortable, than I found myself surrounded by dozens of humans gaping at me like they had never seen a lynx before.
Granted, there aren’t that many of us roaming free anywhere nearby. To be honest, I have been looking for weeks, if not for years, and all in vain! The thing is, at my current age of three, it is time for me to find a mate, settle down and start a family.
That’s not easy given the fact that there are only about 100 of us wild cats left in Germany. I have been on a long, extended search, although when I first left my place of birth in the Harz mountains in early 2018, I just wanted to get away from my parents and see the world. I was a natural athlete, a good hunter and pretty clever, so I fared well. My extended travels over a two-year span took me westward to North Rhine Westphalia and then south into Baden Württemberg.
Although my visit was short, I was certainly glad to add a little excitement to the FIS campus. Afterall, it’s not everyday you see a creature like me.
I spent the winter and spring of 2020 in Hanau, not far away from Oberursel, and what an experience that was! I was fascinated by the Wildpark there. It’s like a kind of zoo set in the woods with some not-so- wild animals living behind a fence – poor souls. Guess what I found there? Other lynxes, including a female! I am sorry to say, but she wasn’t my type at all. I admit, however, I was a bit disappointed because she was already spoken for, but it was fun hanging out. I did get into some trouble there because I didn’t really understand the rules. There was a herd of delecta- ble-looking mouflon sheep and no one told me they were off limits. One evening near my suppertime I jumped the fence and took a stroll in their enclosure. When they didn’t run away, I couldn’t help myself....
Well, that caused a bit of a hick-up and put the hu- mans back on my track. They are so smart. They traced me through the saliva I left on that sheep! Actually, they have been tracking me on and off since I was very young, when they managed to catch me to take some hair samples and they put a funny radio collar on my neck. I got rid of the collar at some point, but these humans can trace me without it just through my DNA and the pattern of my spots! Did I mention that they even gave me a name? It’s M12 – sadly a rather unimaginative one for a handsome fellow like me.
Anyway, I left Hanau after the mouflon éclat and wandered through the Taunus for a while until that September morning at FIS. You may wonder why I wasn’t phased by all the humans hanging around the field that morning. First of all, I was feeling very lazy after a big meal at dawn, and I had seen so many cars and people when I was hanging out near the Wildpark, I figured no one was going to harm me. But after those humans with the dark blue uniforms showed up, surrounded me and started making lots of noise, I wasn’t so sure. So off I went into the woods to look for a bit more peace and quiet.
Although my visit was short, I was certainly glad to add a little excitement to the FIS campus. Afterall, it’s not everyday you see a creature like me.
Vera Thiers
Marketing and Outreach
  Postscript: While the tale of the lynx’s visit to FIS re- mains one of the highlights of the school year, sadly, M12 is no longer roaming the Hessen forests. In late October, a nearby home owner reported that the lynx had been resting in their yard for several days – unusual behavior for a wild cat. The lynx was se- dated by experts from the Opel Zoo and brought to a refuge for wild animals. Although they had hoped the lynx could be released into the woods again, veterinarians determined that the animal had an advanced case of Canine distemper virus (CDV) – and therefore was euthanized. We are saddened by M12’s passing, but feel fortunate to have witnessed this majestic creature in September.
 16 FIS World December 2020

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