The Elusive Turkestan Lynx at the Northwestern Edge of Geographic Range: Current Suitable Habitats and Distribution Forecast in the Climate Change
The Turkestan lynx (Lynx lynx isabellina Blyth, 1847) is a rare and understudied subspecies of the Eurasian lynx occupying the mountains of Central and South Asia. This elusive felid’s northwestern range includes the Tien Shan and Zhetisu Alatau mountains in the border region of Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. As the first step to conserve this vulnerable carnivore, we have conducted the first full-scale research from 2013 until 2022 on its distribution in this region. Using 132 environmental predictors of 359 lynx sightings, we have created species habitat distribution models across the lynx’s northwestern range using machine learning approaches (Maximum Entropy—MaxEnt).