Friday, 17 June 2022

Rewilding Velebit: Another Eurasian Lynx Released - Meet Ljubo

June the 17th, 2022 - The Rewilding Velebit team have released another gorgeous Eurasian lynx on Croatia's famous, imposing mountain range. Ljubo has become the sixth Eurasian lynx to be released into the wild in Croatia.

As Morski writes, as stated, Ljubo the lynx was released by the Rewilding Velebit team as part of the wider LIFE Lynx project, which aims to save the population of this species because since the 1990s, hunters have noticed fewer and fewer lynxes and declining populations, which unfortunately is still the case to this day.

The most significant cause of Croatian lynx extinction, as well as their dying out in neighbouring countries, is inbreeding. For almost 45 years now, the offspring of a mere six animals have been mating exclusively with each other, which causes tremendous issues.

''We estimate that today there are 30-40 lynxes living wild in Croatia, in neighbouring Slovenia, there are only 10-20, and in Italy, the situation is even more critical. Scientific research indicates that the lynx will become extinct again if new animals don't come here and settle and as such increase the genetic diversity of the population. Therefore, representatives of the forestry, hunting and scientific institutions jointly prepared a project proposal for the rescue of a lynx for whom they applied to the LIFE tender for co-financing from the European Commission. The project was positively evaluated and has been being implemented from July 2017, it will continue to be implemented until March 2024,'' wrote the team from the LIFE Lynx project.

The project involves eleven institutions from five countries - Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Slovakia and Romania, and here in Croatia it will be implemented by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, the University of Zagreb, the Polytechnic of Karlovac and the BIOM Association. In addition to the European Commission, the Croatian part of the project is being co-financed by the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency, and significant funds are being provided by the Slovenian Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning.

The long-term goal of the project is to prevent the extinction of the lynx population in the Dinarides and in the Southeast Alps as a whole, which will be achieved primarily by settling four animals from Slovakia and Romania here in Croatia and ten others in neighbouring Slovenia. The success of their settlement will be monitored by scientific research, which will include the monitoring of these animals and their offspring using automatic cameras and GPS collars, and many genetic and ecological analyses. The countries involved in the project will coordinate and improve the management of this endangered species and strategic documents will be prepared to ensure long-term cooperation in this area.

''The beautiful lynx is an enormous treasure of Croatian nature and it's our responsibility to preserve it for future generations. A prerequisite for achieving this goal is the cooperation of all relevant institutions and public support,'' they added from LIFE Lynx.

A male lynx named Lubomir, or Ljubo, was caught in Slovakia and has spent the past two months in quarantine to make sure he's healthy. This male lynx was released recently at the Ramino Korito hunting ground, managed by Rewilding Velebit, and its arrival was welcomed by members of the Gospic Handball Club and representatives of the local community. Ljubo will join the other Carpathian lynxes Emil and Alojzije who already live on Velebit, and about 30 other local Velebit lynxes.

In the last three years, the project has released a total of 15 animals, five in the Croatian part of the Dinarides, five in the Slovenian part of the Dinarides and five in the Slovenian part of the Alps. Ljubo the lynx was released from his transport box by Marija Krnjajic, the director of the Rewilding Velebit Foundation, Mile Ugarkovic, the secretary of the Hunting Association of Lika-Senj County, and Ira Toplicanec, an employee of the LIFE Lynx project.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 15 November 2021

WWF Adria Takes to Risnjak National Park with Slovakian Guests

November the 15th, 2021 - Risnjak National Park (NP Risnjak) is very popular among locals and visitors alike. Home to a very diverse range of wildlife, three of Croatia's largest and most dangerous predators live within its boundaries - the bear, the lynx and the wolf. WWF Adria recently took to this national park accompanied by some Slovakian guests.

As Marinko Krmpotich/Novi list writes, representatives of WWF Adria, the nature protection association, accompanied around a dozen guests from Slovakia, journalists and nature conservationists, as well as employees of local state institutions paying a visit to the country to get better acquainted with Croatian experiences related to Risnjak National Park in relation to the proper protection of large carnivores. A special emphasis was placed on the part of the system related to the possibility of the peaceful and safe coexistence of large carnivores and humans.

Namely, as Neven Slopar, the project manager explained, the goal of the guests from Slovakia was to showcase some positive examples of coexistence with large and potentially dangerous native carnivores because it is much easier to find negative aspects and bad ''meetings'' between the two in the Slovakian media space.

''The LIFE EuroLargeCarnivores project aims to improve the coexistence between humans and large carnivores across Europe. Since this is at a level higher here in Croatia than it is a number of other areas, during our multi-day stay at Risnjak National Park we allowed our Slovakian guests to visit the bear sanctuary in Kuterevo, the Centre for Large Carnivores in Stara Susica, as well as to engage in conversations on this topic with locals who discussed potential business benefits from the presence of large carnivores in their area,'' said Slopar.

WWF Adria's Slovakian guests in turn expressed satisfaction with everything they witnessed not only at Risnjak National Park but across the Republic of Croatia as a whole when it comes to ensuring the full legal protection of large European carnivores, the lynx, the wolf and the brown bear.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.