This week, the largest ever European lynx conference was convened in Zadar, hosted by the oldest Croatian university, where more than 150 scientists and experts dedicated to lynx research and protection came together. The conference was organized by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine University of Zagreb in collaboration with the BIOM association in the scope of the LIFE Lynx project. At the beginning, Professor Slaven Zjalić, the vicerector of the University of Zadar, extended a gracious welcome to the participants, joined by Rok Černe, the coordinator of the LIFE Lynx project, and Associate Professor Magda Sindičić the coordinator of the LIFE Lynx project implementation in Croatia.
Through a series of presentations on activities and results, the partners showcased how the LIFE Lynx project successfully halted the extinction of the lynx population in the Dinarides through international efforts. This achievement was made possible by the collaboration of scientists with hunters, foresters, managers of protected areas, and the local inhabitants. The most significant outcome of the project’s implementation is the translocation of 18 lynxes from Slovakia and Romania into Croatia and Slovenia. The exceptionally successful project implementation is substantiated by multiple recorded reproductions of translocated lynxes . Recently, it was confirmed that one of the translocated males, lynx Goru, has already become a grandfather.
Guest lecturer Dr. Seth M. Wilson, director of the non-governmental organization BlackFoot Challenge in the United States, stated: ‘’From my perspective, the heart of the success of this project was the commitment by LIFE partners to work with local people and communities who share the same habitat with lynx.’’
On the second day, participants visited Paklenica National Park, where one of the reintroduced lynxes, the male Alojzije, has established its territory. The warm welcome from the Park and the stunning natural surroundings allowed for a full day of enjoyment at the visitor center and guided walks to Manita peć cave, the forester’s lodge, and the Paklenica mountain hut.
“For the past six years, the entire team of the LIFE Lynx project has dedicated exceptional efforts to secure the future of lynxes in this part of Europe. We are grateful to everyone who supported us, especially all the collaborators who participated in data collection, as well as the public and the media who cheered for our reintroduced lynxes. With this conference, we conclude and celebrate our collective work. We believe that in recent years, we have demonstrated how the successful management of a protected species can be achieved through a combination of scientifically grounded activities and respect for the interests of all stakeholders. Now, we hope that all institutions responsible for the protection of lynxes and their habitats will assume their share of responsibility and continue successful management based on the foundations we have laid,” stated Associate Professor Magda Sindičić.