Posted by the Animal of the Year Team
Estonian text posted 13.06.2018
In Lahemaa a video sequence was recorded of a lynx attacking a roe deer. The rare footage was caught by a group of Dutch who were in Estonia for 5 days to study and photograph nature led by guide Martin Piispea
Video: Stefan Pronk
"It happened in Lahemaa. The plan for the evening was to go and look for bears,” Martin Piispea recalls. "Two tour members however decided that they would not come to the forest to trample around on foot but would go driving around by car in the evening. I showed them 2-3 fields on the map where it could be worthwhile to ramble around and look. Everything from fox to bear and from elk to lynx have been seen there. As the three of us trampled around in the forest exciting messages started to arrive from the car company – a fox, and roe deer were seen and then LYNX was written in capital letters. The lynx walked peacefully across the field. They could watch it for some 20-25 minutes, it walked around, stopped standing up and then hid in the grass. The roe deer arrived ten minutes later and what followed then is already on the video. Unfortunately a bear was not seen on this trip but filming the lynx more than made up for this."
Lynx expert Raido Kont comments:
Very exciting and rare moments are captured in the video
It seems that the lynx decided not to attack the nearest roe deer but one that just then had its back to the lynx. The most interesting fact is that if catching the prey did not succeed for the lynx in the first dash then it did no longer appeared to be regarded as a threat for the roe deer: they stayed, agitated, as close as before. For comparison it might be remembered that when roe deer foraging in a field notice a human and flee they usually run until a sheltering forest..
Nature man Tarmo Mikussaar comments:
The video left the impression that the lynx came to the field and stopped to lay down somewhere and suddenly the roe deer walked across it. It might seem that it happened half-accidentally but maybe not. It may mean that the lynx has memorised where the roe deer visit in the evenings and had taken his position in good time as hunters do. When the roe deer reached a suitable distance it made an attack lunge. This time a failure. The deer was too far away and. sensed the direction of the attack. It is also well visible what a good reaction speed and acceleration the roe deer has. It is also interesting to observe how small a distance the roe deer judged as safe after the attack by the lynx. Just some thirty metres maybe.
The important thing in the hunting by lynxes is that the leap to the prey should be as unexpected as possible and the distance to the prey minimal. The lynx certainly has so to say empty attacks much more often than successful occasions but since the lynx is a lynx all the time – a predator - it is hunting all the time and ready to use every opportunity to obtain food. If a human were to live 24 hours a day in the forest, were to walk around on four soft paws and would be covered in such an unrustling and efficiently protective-coloured fur coat he too would surely have several chances during a 24-hour period to catch an animal or a bird almost with his bare hands.