First encounter with a lynx

My father Jaro has two scars on the back of his neck. Once, when I was still a little boy, I asked him what happened to him and he told me this short story: "In 1953, I was sent to Eastern Slovakia to help with the construction of the Vihorlat factory.

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Apart from providing machinery and other equipment for the factory premises, we also had to provide building material, especially wood. So we went to the adjacent forests near to the village of RUININA which bordered with the Soviet Union. We, a ranger and I, were accompanied by border guards. I carried a stick to push away low branches when struggling through the vegetation. At one point, I felt a blow, the stick flew out of my hands and I felt pain at the back of my neck...

It was a lynx. One of the border guards knocked it off of me with his rifle butt. We were quite shocked from the incident. At first, I didn't feel anything, but my entire back was soon covered in blood. The wounds on the back of my neck failed to respond to the treatments of the time and suppurated for more than a year. Even today, after about 56 years, I can still feel them. When we later analyzed that situation, we came to the conclusion that the lynx attacked me to defend its young from my stick, which made me a potential attacker... "


When he told me the story, I was envious of his adventurous encounter with a wild creature in its natural surroundings. At that time, I couldn't possibly know that I would also have a few opportunities to meet this wild animal. The first time was at Podbanské in the High Tatras, about 100 metres from the chief forester's house. The lynx calmly passed by me, about 10 metres away. It was an older animal. He looked at me curiously. I slowly took out my camera. As the actor was walking through the forest, I not only felt excited but also very fortunate. When, immediately afterwards, I told the forester what had happened, he didn't believe me. He said he had lived there for 30 years and hadn't yet seen any lynx. Only the recording on my camera convinced him. I still can't understand why the lynx decided to show itself to me...

- Pavol Barabáš

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