With journalists and tourist operators along the lynx trails

Posted - Sep 15, 2023

In early September, as part of the LIFE Lynx project, we organized a study visit for a limited number of foreign journalists and tourist operators. We presented to them the benefits of the presence of lynx and other large carnivores for the local community, especially in terms of ecotourism development and enriching the tourism offerings. The participants of the study visit were first welcomed at the Department of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana. Professor Tomaž Skrbinšek presented to them the basics of lynx biology and ecology, lynx role in the ecosystem, conservation status of the species, and conservation measures. After a thorought discussion, we drove to Pivka. Together with a representative from the Pivka Tourist Board, we visited an interactive exhibition about large carnivores at the Dina Pivka Center, which was created as part of the Interreg Carnivora Dinarica project. We spent the afternoon at Javorniki, in the company of Be Around Me hunters. After an excellent dinner at the tourist farm Pri Andrejevih, prepared with their locally produced organic delicacies, we spent the night at the Na meji Pension.

Be Around Me.

The next day, we visited the Sedmak family farm, where they presented to us examples of good practices in protecting small livestock from attacks by large carnivores with the help of livestock guarding dogs. On our way to Kočevje, we stopped at Mašun, where we were greeted by the head of the Postojna regional unit of the Slovenia Forest Service. Together, we explored the renovated Mašun forest house and the forest educational trail, which focuses on the importance and role of large carnivores in the forest. We continued our journey to Kočevsko, where representatives of the Kočevsko Institute took us on a Lynx educational trail in the surroundings of Koča pri Jelenovem studencu. Together, we gathered some edible plants and prepared a real “wild salad” as a side dish for dinner. In the evening, we were thrilled by the pre-premiere screening of the film Together for Lynx. We concluded the evening with a campfire gathering.

On the Lynx trail in Kočevsko.

We started the last day in Suhi potok, where, with ARS NATURAE, we felt the heartbeat of the forest and painted under the guidance of an academic painter. We concluded the study visit with a visit to the wildlife watching hides of the Kočevsko Institute.

Expressing nature through art.

During the study visit, the participants learnt about local providers and Slovenia through an engaging lynx story, promoting the country as an attractive destination for nature and large carnivore-based tourism.

We would like to thank the following organizations for the successful implementation of the study visit and their cooperation in organizing the event: the Slovenian Tourist Board, the Pivka Tourism Board, Be Around Me, the Kočevsko Institute, the Slovenia Forest Service, ARS NATURAE, and the academic painter Karmen Bajec.

Most of the tourism providers we visited have a Bear-Friendly certificate, which promotes and educates about coexistence between humans and large predators.

Group photo of the participants of the study tour.