Nature Park Velebit has just become richer for one beautiful feline called Emil! Emil is the fourth lynx to be released in Croatia as part of the LIFE Lynx project, and the third that we are releasing on Velebit.
Based on the data from the photo traps, we estimate that there are about 38 adult lynxes on Velebit, so we hope that Emil will not have any problems finding a partner. So far, a total of 13 lynx, ten males, and three females have been released in Slovenia and Croatia. In 2019, we released two lynxes caught in Romania: Doru (HR) and Goru (SLO), in 2020 three lynxes from Romania: Alojzije (HR), Catalin (SLO), and Boris (SLO), and two lynxes from Slovakia: Pino (HR) and Maks (SLO). This year was special because we made a big step towards connecting the populations in the Dinarides and the Alps – five lynxes (3 females and 2 males) were released into the Slovenian Alps and the lynx Emil arrived from Slovakia in the Croatian Dinarides.
All lynxes in Croatia have been released by so-called ”hard release” a method where the lynx was released immediately after transport from the country of capture, while lynxes in Slovenia were released by the method ”soft release”- after transport from the country of capture, they spent an additional 2 weeks in an enclosure at the release site. We thank ZOO Bojnice for bringing Emil to Croatia. His arrival is another important step in preserving the Dinaric lynx population endangered by inbreeding and maintaining a healthy ecosystem.