During the past 20 years seven lynx orphans were found in Croatia, while four of those animals were found in the past five years. Experience with those animals showed us Croatia is lacking appropriate protocols for management of lynx orphans, so we used the opportunity to prepare Guidelines for management of lynx orphans in Croatia (pdf in Croatian) within the LIFE Lynx project, even though this document was not originally planned in the project proposal.
Guidelines are based on the scientific publication about management of 321 orphaned lynx in Europe in the period 1975 – 2022 (Molinari et al., in press) and scientific publications about management of lynx orphans in Switzerland (Borel et. al, 2022). Also, local circumstances and experience were taken into the consideration, and first draft of Guidelines were prepared by Croatian project personnel. Then, on May 23 2023, we organized a workshop that gathered experts in wildlife rehabilitation, experts in lynx management, representatives from Ministry of economy and sustainable development and representatives of Zagreb ZOO. During the workshop detailed protocols describing each step of actions that should be made after the information about the possible lynx orphan is received. All participants agreed Croatia has appropriate conditions only for the short-term treatment of orphaned animals, and if a longer rehabilitation is necessary this should be organized in cooperation with European institutions experienced in orphan lynx rehabilitation.
The Ministry in charge for protected species will consults these Guidelines when making the final decision about the management of lynx orphans, so this document is another step towards the better quality management of Dinaric lynx population.