Certainly, Michel Balanche, nature photographer based in Villers-le-Lac (Doubs), has the gift of finding 5-legged sheep. After in 2014 he caught a perfect white young chamois in the lens, this time he was able to photograph a lynx without ears!
Michel Balanche keeps the location of the shooting a secret, stating only that it is a forest in Haut Doubs, close to the Swiss border. “I was looking in an area that I know well, I was expecting to see deer or wild boar, but I saw this lynx at the edge of the forest. I immediately saw that he was special, that there was a anomaly.”
The young predator has no ears. The pointed, hairy ears, which are one of the characteristic signs of the lynx. “I had a 500mm lens for long shots, but it was so close that I had to wait for it to move away to shoot. He wasn’t at all stressed about sensing my presence, except that the losers are never stressed.”
Too much inbreeding?
Behind the anecdote, a point of concern. Is this original lynx the consequence of inbreeding problems in the population of the Jura massif, the largest in France, which has about 150 adult individuals. For Gilles Moine, head of the Athénas center in L’Étoile (Jura), which collects and treats injured lynxes, this particular case is not worrying. “There are two-headed calves, albino birds. We are here for such matters. »
VIDEO. Lynx in the Doubs: “The species is still considered endangered in France”
But the specialist reveals a more worrying finding: “We carried out a study which revealed that the lynx population is losing genetic diversity. There is shortness of breath, thinning of the stomach wall in some cases”. The Jura lynxes come from twenty individuals from Switzerland who were was reintroduced into the massif in the 1970s. We are 21 this year against 13 the year before. »