Extinct? Not so fast!

By Misch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

More and more native animal species are disappearing from Luxembourg's natural landscapes. But there are also successes to show for it: Nature conservation and renaturalisation can work. Join us on our search for the species that have found their way back home.

A long unheard cry shatters the silence in the wetland near Beckerich in the west of the country, which has been renaturalised by Sicona (Syndicat intercommunal pour la conversation de la nature). Four obviously agitated lapwings circle above us, making it clear that we are not welcome here. For a long time, these birds with their shimmering green feathers and characteristic crest were a common species in Luxembourg. They were easily recognisable over wet meadows and farmland, mainly due to their breakneck mating flights, which gave them the german nickname "jugglers of the air". in 1988, 215 breeding pairs were still known in Luxembourg. in 2015 there were still seven. One in 2020. 2021… none. Luxembourg seemingly had lost one species more species.

But the warning calls of the four lapwings make it unmistakable: they are here again. Biologists Liza Glesener and Claude Kolwelter from Sicona approach the animals' breeding area, a renaturalised wetland between fields where not only the lapwing feels at home. Since the 1950s, a good 80 per cent of these less productive areas have had to make way for intensively farmed arable land.

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