Project Team


Rok Černe

Rok Černe

Slovenia Forest Service

I am a forester by profession and have been working as a project manager on wildlife at the Slovenian Forest Service for more than ten years. I am currently a LIFE Lynx project coordinator. Additionally, I have been coordinating the LIFE DINALP BEAR project for the past three and a half years and will continue implementing LIFE DINALP BEAR until its completion.  In my free time, I love spending time with my family. I enjoy travelling, hiking, kite surfing, and snowboarding. 

Nives Pagon, Ph.D.

Nives Pagon, Ph.D.

Slovenia Forest Service

I am a biologist with a great interest in animal ecology and behaviour. My work focused primarily on large mammals (herbivores and carnivores) up to now, since the days I was gathering field experience as a volunteer in various research groups across Europe. I am proud to be part of an enthusiastic and professional research team during such an important nature conservation step as saving this lynx population is. I am happiest when hiking or cycling in an inspiring forest/ mountainous landscape and spending time with friends. I also enjoy the underwater life at sea and nurture special interest in officinal plants.

Maja Sever

Maja Sever

Slovenia Forest Service

My professional path first took me to limnology and freshwater benthic invertebrates. After 10 years my path turned and I joined large carnivore group at Slovenia Forest Service to work on large carnivore communication. It gives me great joy, to work in a group, where I can contribute with my positive energy, resourcefulness and creativity. Lynx conservation is of great importance and I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to this goal.  My free time is mostly dedicated to my family and friends. I like to travel around the world and hike in the mountains. As an amateur musician I play the drums in local orchestra and sing in a choir.

Andrej Rot

Andrej Rot

Slovenia Forest Service

I am a law graduate by education. I come from the western part of Slovenia, from the Posočje region. Nature has always been very close to me and I devote most of my free time to nature activities, especially hunting. My role in the LIFE Lynx project is related to field work, lynx monitoring, communication with hunters, and performing a variety of administrative and legal work. I have great pleasure in working on the project, as I have always been interested in wildlife and large carnivores.

Tomaž Berce

Tomaž Berce

Slovenia Forest Service

I’m a biologist, actively involved in the field of large carnivores for the last 10 years. First I started as a volunteer, later on as an employee on Slovenia Forest Service. Since 2014, I have been working at SFS in the field of conflict mitigation between people and large carnivores, mostly with damage prevention measures. I always try to understand the challenges of people living in areas of large carnivore presence. I live in countryside, which gives me the opportunity to closely understand the everyday challenges. I was actively involved in researches on golden jackals, otters, beavers, invasive species, and I have been an active ornithologist for more than 20 years. In my free time, I like to be with my family and friends, and I also do sports, mostly running, hiking and other activities in the nature.

Lan Hočevar

Lan Hočevar

University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty

I am a forester by profession. I finished my education at the Biotechnical Faculty at the University of Ljubljana at the Department of Forestry and Renewable Forest Resources. I am most interested in studying animals, especially large carnivores. I have been studying Eurasian lynx for several years, and I have written about it in my diploma thesis (BSc) and more recently in my master’s thesis (MSc). From a young age, I like to spend time in the woods and nature, where I feel the best. In my spare time, I like to do wildlife photography, play football, hike, and hang out with friends.

Astrid Vik Stronen, Ph.D.

Astrid Vik Stronen, Ph.D.

University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty

I am a wildlife biologist and researcher in conservation genetics and ecology. My recent studies include genomic analyses of wild species and domestic populations at risk in Europe and Canada, including bison, cattle, dogs, and wolves. I am interested in contemporary evolution resulting from human activities, and how we can best preserve wild species and their habitats in the face of rapid environmental change. I have a strong interest in applied conservation genetics, and in projects that integrate ecology, evolution, and conservation and connect these fields to human dimensions including ethics and human-wildlife interactions. On my free time I enjoy dancing, hiking, reading, and traveling. I feel very fortunate to be involved in this and other wildlife conservation projects that are helping to preserve wild species in southcentral Europe and beyond.

Urša Fležar

Urša Fležar

University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty

I am a biologist and I work as a researcher at University of Ljubljana and as an analyst at the Slovenia Forestry Service. Questions related to wildlife ecology, conservation and management have been the main focus of my studies and my work. Among these, issues related to monitoring have always grabbed my attention in a special way. I am very excited to be involved with this ambitious international project with such a diverse team of people, where my main task is to follow the progress of lynx reinforcement efforts in Slovenia. When out of the office, I like training with my dog, foraging, painting, podcasting and spending as much time as possible in the nature.

Renato Pontarini

Renato Pontarini

Progetto Lince Italia

Class 1970 Tarvisio, always passionate about nature and fauna, I have been a member of the Progetto Lince Italia for over 15 years and I am in charge of monitoring. For the PLI I follow the otter and the beaver, two species recently returned to Italy. My great passion is nature photography. I am the official photographer of the PLI and my photos have been published in various magazines, books and calendars.

Alberto Colleselli, Ph.D.

Alberto Colleselli, Ph.D.

Progetto Lince Italia

Born in 1950, have a doctorate in forestry, I started my career working as a forester, teacher and working in the livestock sector. In 1977, I joined the State Forestry Service as an officer, in 2006 I assumed the role of superior manager with the rank of general and remained there until retirement. I was a member of the Governing Council of the Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park, and a member of the CITES Commission at the Ministry of the Environment. I am a passionate hunter and operative in the role of Federcaccia president of the Province of Belluno. I am a member of the AGJSO committee, the permanent assembly of hunting associations in the south-eastern Alps. I am currently also active as President of the progetto Lince Italia.

Tadeja Smolej

Tadeja Smolej

Hunters Association of Slovenia

I am an ecologist and professor of biology by profession. In 2018, I completed the Master’s study programs: Ecology and Biodiversity and Biology Education at the University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty. In my Master’s thesis, I studied the attitudes of primary and secondary school students toward the brown bear and tested, optimized and developed a new method of collecting non-invasive genetic samples from lynxes with coil spring hair traps. The method was tested during the season 2017/2018 in the lynx enclosure at the ZOO Ljubljana and is now being used in LIFE Lynx project for monitoring of the population on the field. I like to spend my free time with family and friends. I enjoy exploring nature, sports, art, photography and other activities.

Nina Prešeren

Nina Prešeren

Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation

I work at the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation. My field of expertise is creating interpretive centers. Currently I am working on two exhibitions, the story of black olm which is endemic to the underground waters in Bela krajina and the story of the river Krka focused on Natura 2000. I am happy to be part of the LIFE Lynx project. With team of experts we will create nature trail to explain reintroduction of lynx. In free time I like to travel and spending time in nature, as much as possible.

Paolo Molinari

Paolo Molinari

Progetto Lince Italia

Born in 1967. I studied forestry sciences, but I soon abandoned forestry to devote myself to research, management and conservation of wildlife. I have been involved in the management of ungulates and for over 30 years I have been dealing with large carnivors, specializing in the brown bear and Eurasian lynx. I am a founding member and technical-scientific coordinator of the Progetto Lince Italia, a member of the IUCN / SSC Cat Specialist Group, the SCALP and KORA. I am operating as a scientific consultant for wildlife management for the Carabinieri Forestali. Together with some colleagues I was the promoter of the WISO platform of the Alpine Convention of which I was secretary for 6 years. I am currently also a member of the Italian delegation of the Ministry of the Environment. I have collaborated on numerous naturalistic documentaries and I am the author of several books. I’m a passionate hunter.

Lado Bradač

Lado Bradač

Hunters Association of Slovenia

I am a hunter and president of the Hunters Association of Slovenia. I have been active in the hunting organization for many years, and I take care of fulfilling our mission about nature conservation for future generations. To reach our goal and accomplish our mission, hunters spend almost one million hours per year volunteering to do good for the environment and nature. Participating in the LIFE Lynx project is just one of the activities, but priceless in terms of our mission. Because of the demanding full-time job and volunteer work at the Hunters Association of Slovenia, I do not have much free time, but if I do, I prefer to spend it in nature and at the seaside.

Andrea Gazzola

I am an ecologist and have been working on wildlife conservation projects for over fifteen years. My research focuses on wolves, and I have gained knowledge on their behaviour and ecology by studying them in various ecosystems, from the Apennines to the Alps and the Carpathians. Working with different institutions (universities, NGOs, and Natural Parks’ Administrations) has developed my comprehensive knowledge on wolf research, conservation, and management. Since 2013, I have been a permanent staff member at ACDB. LIFE Lynx provides an excellent opportunity to improve my knowledge on one of the most elusive and charismatic species in Europe. In my free time, I enjoy drawing comics, reading books, and running in the mountains.

Mariana Gheorghiu

For the last twelve years, I have worked as project manager and financial manager of three LIFE Nature projects. As a member of the ACDB, I have contributed to conservation activities in both the field and office. As an administrative and financial manager responsible for the ACDB projects, I learned that conservation projects need a lot of resources and teamwork to be successful.

Tomislav Gomerčić, Ph.D.

Tomislav Gomerčić, Ph.D.

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Zagreb

I am a professor at Faculty of Veterinary Medicine University of Zagreb, and my teaching activities are focused on zoology and ecology. I have been involved in large carnivore and marine mammal research for over fifteen years. In my professional work, I connect my passion for nature science and computer technologies. I am a father of three children and passionate about paragliding, sailing and enjoying life.

Maja Jelenčič, Ph.D.

Maja Jelenčič, Ph.D.

University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty

I’m a biologist, and I have been working with the Animal Ecology Research Group, BF, UL since 2010, where my main responsibility is ensuring our genetic laboratory runs smoothly. I’m glad that I have an opportunity to work on such projects as LIFE Lynx, knowing that our work has an impact on nature conservation. Most of my free time is now dedicated to family life – we love to go out, discover new places and just enjoy our time together.

Irena Kavčič, Ph.D.

Irena Kavčič, Ph.D.

University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty

When I finished my microbiology degree, I wanted to spend more time outside the lab, working on conservation issues. During my PhD studies, I was involved in various large carnivore projects. I enjoy learning about the complexity of large carnivore conservation and working towards better coexistence between people and wildlife. Within the LIFE Lynx project, I coordinate lynx-based tourism activities that benefit both local communities and lynx conservation. I love being outdoors, away from technology, and reading a good book just before I go to sleep.

Miha Krofel, Ph.D.

Miha Krofel, Ph.D.

University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty

I am a wildlife researcher and mainly work on large carnivore ecology, management and conservation in Europe and Africa. I have dedicated most of my research to Eurasian lynx, brown bear, grey wolf, leopard, cheetah, snow leopard and jackals. To a lesser degree, I have also studied raptors, ravens, and lizards. My doctorate dissertation focused on interspecific interactions between lynx and other animals, with which lynx coexist in Dinaric forest ecosystem. In my free time, I enjoy travelling around the world and photographing wildlife.

Rudolf Kropil, Ph.D.

Rudolf Kropil, Ph.D.

Technical University in Zvolen

I am the President of the Slovak Rectors’ Conference, the Rector of the Technical University in Zvolen, and the Head of the Department of Applied Zoology and Wildlife Management. My work specializes on solving problems of sustainable development, applied zoology (ornithology and mammalogy) and forest ecology in relation to other economic, forestry and environmental disciplines, and I am recently involved in the improvement of the ungulate management.

Jakub Kubala, Ph.D.

Jakub Kubala, Ph.D.

Technical University in Zvolen

I am a zoologist and researcher at the Department of Applied Zoology and Wildlife Management, Faculty of Forestry, Technical University in Zvolen. My work is focused on research, conservation and management of the Eurasian lynx and other carnivores in the Western Carpathians and Europe. I am actively collaborating with several national and international institutions, such as the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic, the National Zoo Bojnice, the State Nature Conservation of the Slovak Republic, KORA, LCIE, WWF etc.

Aleksandra Majić Skrbinšek, M.Sc.

Aleksandra Majić Skrbinšek, M.Sc.

University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty

My main professional interest and motivation is to contribute to finding effective solutions to conservation problems. My affection for animals was first directed towards getting a degree in veterinary medicine and completing a thesis in wolf ecology. As I got more involved in practical conservation in the field, I’ve learned that working with people is the main challenge in nature conservation. Therefore, I focused my graduate studies on human dimensions of wildlife management, especially public participation in decision-making and studies of public attitudes towards large carnivore species. In my 20 years of professional experience, I have worked on different nature conservation and research projects, mainly in Slovenia and Croatia. I am a member of IUCN/SSC specialist group “Large carnivore initiative for Europe”. I am currently based at the Biology Department of Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana in the position of project manager and researcher.
When not at work, I am a full-time wife and a mother, and part-time dog walker, sailor, seamstress, and volunteer at Down Syndrome Association of Slovenia.

Urša Marinko

Urša Marinko

University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty

I am a sociologist with a passion for nature conservation. During my PhD studies, I have had an opportunity to work in large carnivore conservation. This led me to become part of the team of experts working on complex topics like lynx reinforcement and conservation. Within our project, I am responsible for working with local communities and schools through a participatory approach. Moreover, I am coordinating general communication activities, such as development of project publications, notice boards, press releases and other one-way channels of communication. In my free time, I enjoy travelling with my family, exploring nature and meeting different people.

Anja Molinari-Jobin, Ph.D.

Anja Molinari-Jobin, Ph.D.

Progetto Lince Italia

I have been involved in research and monitoring projects of large carnivores for more than 25 years. As a member of Progetto Lince Italia and KORA, my main topic is the reintegration of lynx into the Alps. I coordinate the SCALP (Status and Conservation of the Alpine lynx Population), a programme aimed to synchronize the monitoring and conservation activities of lynx in the Alps. I am a member of the IUCN/SSC specialist groups “Cat Specialist Group” and “Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe”. In the frame of the project LIFE Lynx I am coordinating the activities in Italy and act as consultant for lynx captures in the Carpathians. I am a hunter and bee-keeper.

Aleš Pičulin

Aleš Pičulin

Forester

I am a forester by profession. I obtained my bachelor’s degree at the University of Ljubljana. I am currently working on my master’s degree where I am exploring the role of European badger (Meles meles) as an ecosystem engineer. I have always felt connected to the forest and the animals that live there—this is a key reason why I decided to study forestry. I am also a hunter, which is our family tradition. When I am in nature I like to observe and take photographs of different animals, tree species and various compositions. Because my hobby is painting, I try to transfer these images and unique situations to paper and canvas. My artwork is mostly of wildlife and nature. In addition to art, I enjoy playing accordion and doing many sports, including ice hockey, basketball, football and hiking.

Mihai Pop

Mihai Pop

ACDB

Interested in wildlife, I like spending my time supporting biodiversity conservation initiatives. I have worked on forest management, protected areas, habitat, and wildlife conservation for the last fifteen years, but my primary interest is on brown bears and other large carnivores. I have worked for public institutions, private companies, research centers and conservation NGOs in Romania. The LIFE Lynx project put a new challenge in of front me that I could not refuse.

Ivana Selanec

My involvement in nature protection started with studies in biology at Zagreb University, where I finished my master’s in ecology and nature protection in 2012. My early studies focused on mammal ecology through participation in small mammal inventory and jackal distribution research. I have worked at Association Biom for the last five years where I am focused on invasive mammal species in Croatia, endemic rodent species Dinaric Snow Vole, carnivore ecology and conservation. I am involved in the educational activities of our Association and management of projects focused on nature protection; I practice Open Standards for the practice of conservation as a CCnet coach. I live in the town Sinj in the Dalmatian Hinterland of Croatia, where I enjoy the beautiful environment with my partner Ivan and son Marko.

Teodora Sin

I am an ecologist and have been working on large carnivore conservation projects for the past seven years. My studies have focused mainly on wolf ecology and conservation, and in 2018 I will complete my Ph.D. in Ecology at the University of Bucharest on the same topic. My educational background also includes an M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences and a B.A. in Geography. I cannot stay still for too long, and I like to get to know things in great detail, so my free time is spent enjoying outdoor activities- climbing, trail running, cycling- or exploring the surroundings of the places where I live.

Magda Sindičić, Ph.D.

Magda Sindičić, Ph.D.

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Zagreb

I am an assistant professor at Faculty of Veterinary Medicine University of Zagreb where I teach wildlife management and wildlife disease. I have been focused on lynx research since the beginning of my scientific career, and I am thrilled to contribute to conservation of this magnificent species.  My other professional interests are biology and pathology of wildlife, especially carnivores, wildlife parasitology and conservation genetics. I am a Mediterranean, mother and volunteer at humanitarian organizations. I am happiest when hiking and sailing with friends and family.

Vedran Slijepčević

Vedran Slijepčević

Karlovac University of Applied Sciences

I am a veterinarian specialized in wildlife manipulation as well as non-invasive research of large carnivores. I work as a senior lecturer on Department of wildlife management and nature conservation on Karlovac University of Applied Sciences. Most of my work on lynx is based on recognition of signs of presence and camera trapping, as well as capture, manipulation and telemetry research. I tend to include my students in every part of field research I can, so they can experience real research situations first hand. I am also experienced hunter and spearfisherman and I try to steal every possible moment from “real life” and spend it in nature with my dog Gea.

Peter Smolko, Ph.D.

Peter Smolko, Ph.D.

Technical University in Zvolen

I am a researcher at the Department of Applied Zoology and Wildlife Management, Faculty of Forestry, Technical University in Zvolen. My research focuses on foraging and nutritional ecology of wild ungulates, plant-herbivore-predator interactions and landscape modifications on wildlife populations. I am also involved in the improving practical management of wild ungulates and conservation of the large carnivores.

Cosmin Stîngă

I serve as president of the Association for the Conservation of Biological Diversity and have been responsible for the implementation of species conservation projects during the pre-accession and post-accession of Romania into the EU. As such, I am familiar with the specific requirements of various funding dedicated to biodiversity conservation. I worked on in-situ conservation projects that involved the capturing, tranquilizing, radio-collaring, and monitoring of brown bear, lynx, and wolf. My current activity is partially dedicated to the functioning of the ACDB Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

Nina Šivec Novak

Nina Šivec Novak

Economist

I am an economist by profession. In the Life Lynx project, I am responsible for administration and financial aspects of the project.  I am looking forward to this opportunity to contribute to something good for nature – the beauty of nature fascinates me. I like sports and reading.  I am a very sociable and curious person by heart.

Ira Topličanec

Ira Topličanec

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Zagreb

I’m a PhD student at the Faculty of Veterinary medicine in Zagreb, Croatia. My passion for nature and outdoor activities defined my career goals and life aspirations. As a veterinary student, I was always looking for a chance to work with wildlife, not only in Croatia, but throughout Europe with a little help from different scholarships. As a result, I am thrilled and proud to be part of the LIFE Lynx project team where I am getting a chance to work with many amazing researchers and specialists who dedicated their professional life to wildlife research and conservation.

Seth Wilson, Ph.D.

Seth Wilson, Ph.D.

External collaborator

As a conservation biologist, I marvel at the connections between nature, culture, and community. As such, I have focused my undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral education on integrating social science and ecology with an emphasis on the conservation of large carnivores. I am currently a Research Associate at the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative and an Affiliate Faculty member at the University of Montana. I also serve on the IUCN – Bear Specialist Group’s Human-Bear Conflict Expert Team.

During 2015-2016 I had the great fortune to work as a technical advisor to the Slovenian Forest Service under the LIFE DINALP BEAR Project. I am thrilled to be back in Slovenia for another year—this time for the LIFE Lynx Project.

I enjoy spending my free time with my family exploring the world—especially in nature. We love being in the mountains, on rivers, and in the forest. My hope is to leave my children and future generations with a beautiful and healthy planet. 

Srečko Žerjav

Srečko Žerjav

Hunters Association of Slovenia

I am a hunter and nature admirer, currently in my third term as director of the Hunters Association of Slovenia (HAS). I am active in The European Federation of Associations for Hunting & Conservation (FACE) and The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC). I have been involved as an outside partner in some actions and activities of LIFE projects SLOWOLF and LIFE DINALP BEAR. In my free time, I like to enjoy nature as a hiker, fly fisherman and hunter. We all have to help protect nature!