It would be marvellous to claim that I photographed this gorgeous Eurasian Lynx in the forests of Brandenburg, but in fact I took it at the Wildpark Schorfheide near to Groß Schönebeck.
Lynxes have been virtually extinct in Germany for nearly 200 years, though there is a project to re-introduce them back into the Harz Mountains that has released 24 zoo-bred lynx into the wild since the year 2000. There are also pockets of wild lynx populations in Germany, particularly in the Bavarian Forest and in the Sächsischen Schweiz where lynx have migrated from the Czech Republic.
The Eurasian lynx is called ein Luchs in German. Both the English and German words derive from the Greek word λύγξ (pronounced: lúnks) which itself comes from a Proto-Indo-European word '*leuk-' that means 'light' or 'bright' and refers to their bright, reflective eyes when seen in the dark. Cat owners will know all about those kinds of eyes, but adorable though lynxes look, you wouldn't want to cuddle one: after bears and wolves, lynxes are the greatest predator in Europe. They are total carnivores, and we saw this one make off with a huge hunk of meat: