New faces at the Kaiserslautern Wildpark

Kaiserslautern Wildpark lynx
Kaiserslautern Wildpark lynx

New faces at the Kaiserslautern Wildpark

by Kat Nickola
Stripes Europe

We watched the new lynx (luchs) sit on top of its transportation box surveying his new surroundings at the Kaiserslautern Wildpark. For the first few days, he was limited to a small space within the large lynx enclosure to acclimate to his new home. Once he was free to roam, he decided that his favorite spot was the sunny patch beside the fence nearest the “aurochs” (wild ox).

Visiting the Kaiserslautern Wildpark is free all year. It is located within the Pfalzerwald (Pfalz forest) on the east side of Kaiserslautern, adjacent to the Betzenberg neighborhood near the stadium. It is integrated into the forest and has no main entrance, which makes it fun to stumble upon during a hike in the woods. 

The forest location of the wildpark was specifically chosen over 50 years ago because it is a patch of old-growth wood and contains trees over 130 years old. This setting enhances the goal of the Wildpark to introduce visitors to the native environment and animals that would have occupied European forests long ago, including two extinct species.

The new lynx seems to enjoy watching one of them: the baby auroch across the path from his new favorite spot. There were two aurochs born at the Kaiserslautern Wildpark this winter; one is still young and sporting its reddish fuzzy coat while the other is old enough to be testing its horns against the other males. The aurochs are part of a back-breeding program to recapture the DNA of this extinct species that is the ancestor of modern cattle. The last known true European auroch died in 1627.

The two gray horses at Kaiserslautern Wildpark are actually a species called a Tarpan and, like the aurochs, they are involved in a back-breeding program. The original Tarpans were the ancestors of European horses and went extinct in the 1800s.

This part of the Pfalzerwald is used by locals and visitors alike. You may see people out for jogs, local kindergarten students building stick forts, couples on dates or mountain bikers passing through.

Visiting the Wildpark makes a great hike at any time. There are some benches, trash cans and picnic tables for breaks, and leashed dogs are welcome. However, going to the Wildpark is similar to taking a hike in the forest; there are no further facilities like toilets or kiosks, so plan accordingly.

Parking is located on Entweilerstrasse near Kleber Kaserne; the 101 bus also stops here. From this location, there is a well-marked uphill hike to the Wildpark. Parking for forest access is also available in Betzenberg at Voltairestrasse; once in the woods, you will come across signs to the Wildpark. The Betzenberg entrance is not as steep and has an erlebniswald (adventure forest) trail for kids.

To make a whole day of it, bring a picnic and tack on a visit to the Humbergturm. This Kaiserslautern landmark resembles Rapunzel’s tower and is visible on the mountain range south of the city. The view of Kaiserslautern after climbing the 130 steps up the tower is phenomenal.

A visit to the Wildpark is always fun and varies with the season. Sometime later this year, a female lynx will be added to the lynx enclosure. I’m hoping for some cute lynx kits. And if cuteness is what you are after, spring is the perfect time to see newly born wild boars with their adorable tiny hooves and stripey coats. In the summer and fall, enclosures are full of prancing goat kids, lambs, and fawns.

In the large deer enclosure, a new 7-year-old stag recently replaced the old patriarch of the herd who passed away last fall. The older stag (my family called him Magnus) was 17 years old and had fathered most of the herd for as many years. While the new stag doesn’t have a set of antlers as big as Magnus’, he is quite impressive and worth a visit.

Subscribe to our Stripes Europe newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, helpful PCS tips, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Europe
Pinterest: Stars and Stripes Europe
Instagram: @StarsandStripeseurope

Related Content

Recommended Content

Around the Web