LIFE Lynx – Preventing the extinction of the Dinaric-SE Alpine lynx population through reinforcement and long-term conservation LIFE16 NAT/SI/000634
Duration of the project:
1.7.2017. – 31.3.2024.
Slovenia Forest Service
University of Ljubljana; Slovenia, Association for the Biological Diversity Conservation; Romania, Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Protection; Slovenia, Karlovac Polytechnic; Croatia, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb; Croatia, BIOM Association; Croatia, Progetto Lince Italia; Italy, Technical University in Zvolen; Slovakia, Hunters Association of Slovenia; Slovenia, Arma dei Carabinieri – Commanda Unità TutelaForestale; Italy, Ambientale e Agroalimentare; Italy.
Web page: LIFE Lynx
At the end of the 19th century, the northeastern Dinaric-Alpine lynx population (Lynx lynx) was exterminated under the pressure of hunting, persecution, habitat fragmentation, and lack of prey. In the 1970s, the lynx was successfully reintroduced through the transfer of individuals from the Carpathian population to Slovenia. Through this reintroduction, the lynx spread further southeast to the territory of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and west to Italy. But after a few decades the population has shrunk considerably, mostly due to hereditary difficulties caused by a small genetic fund (inbreeding or inbreeding and genetic drift). Urgent measures are needed to revitalize and enrich the existing population and to improve its connectivity with other populations, especially the Alpine population.
Specific objectives of the project:
- Preventing further extinction of the northeastern Dinaric-Alpine population through the establishment of a new population hotspot west of the current Dinaric population
- Units from a viable source from the Carpathian population will be reintroduced to significantly reduce inbreeding to a cut-off value that still allows the population decline to be halted.
- A management plan will be developed at the cross-border level to ensure the long-term survival of the reintroduced lynx
- The establishment of the plan will be based on a process that will include stakeholder support to facilitate the acceptance of the plan by the general public.
- To ensure the long-term survival of the lynx population, the project will develop tools based on scientific knowledge for further strategic planning linking the project objectives with the objectives of the Bern Convention, Annex 2 of the EU Habitats Directive and the Biodiversity Strategy 2020.
Expected project results:
- Successful adaptation of 9 new individuals to the northeastern Dinaric population
- Release of 5 lynxes into the alpine area which will enhance the spread of lynx distribution by at least 2,000 km2
- Providing at least 12 new areas with a stable presence of male and female lynx
- Decrease in inbreeding coefficient below 0.18 (current 0.30), with expected increase in population fitness by 25%
- Development of guidelines for lynx populations, action plan (Slovenia), expert studies (Croatia) and management plan (Italy)
- Increase awareness of lynx as well as support for lynx protection through events, documentaries, educational seminars for tourists, educational trails and other similar project activities