We are monitoring lynx Josip on northern Velebit with camera traps since December 2019. As translocated lynxes Alojzije and Emil (and later on also Ljubo) established their territories near the territory of lynx Josip this was a great opportunity to explore the interactions of resident and translocated animals. So on February 4 2022, thanks to great cooperation with Nature park Velebit and Rewilding Velebit Foundation, we captured lynx Josip in a box trap and fitted him with a telemetry collar. At capturing Josip had 27 kg and was approximated to be 5 years old. Two months later another resident male living next to Josip, named Pandora, was also fitted with a telemetry collar, so we had a chance to observe activity and movements of five male lynxes with neighbouring territories on mountain Velebit.
Josip’s collar was programmed to drop off after 14 months, which was expected at the end of March 2023. During the last days of its activity, the collar was programmed to locate Josip every 15 minutes which enabled a detail monitoring of his behaviour. Our researchers with the support of Josip Tomaić, ranger from the Nature park Velebit, were closely monitoring his every step and collected valuable observations of lynx feeding habits. In the night from March 31 to April 1 2023, we placed a camera trap near his prey. At 10:55 PM Josip visited the prey and still had his collar on, while on his next visit at 1:15 AM the collar was already gone. His collar dropped off right next to the prey and we retrieved it the next day. Usually, it takes a lot of effort to find a dropped collar so we were very lucky this time.
But the fantastic story does not end here. The next morning, April 1, Nino Salkić, ranger from Rewilding Velebit Foundation and professional photographer, had a great opportunity to meet lynx Josip. This incredible encounter lasted for 15 minutes and Nino made fantastic images that attracted a lot of attention of the public and media. Lynx Josip therefore became a fantastic ambassador of Dinaric lynx population – he gave us valuable insight into one-year cycle of a lynx’s life and in the meantime also became a media superstar.