STA, 8 December 2018 - As 45 years pass this year since the lynx was reintroduced to Slovenia, preparations are under way for the first new animal to be brought to Slovenia early next year as part of the Life Lynx international project.
The wildcat will come to Slovenia from Romania or Slovakia, depending on which country manages to catch it first, the Life Lynx project group has told the STA.
The Eurasian lynx was reintroduced to Slovenia in 1973 upon the Slovenian hunters' initiative.
There are perhaps between 15 and 20 lynx in Slovenia
The current population, estimated at 15 to 20 animals, are descendants of six animals brought to Slovenia then from Slovakia.
The Life Lynx project group also launched this year a systematic monitoring of lynxes with automatic cameras, but results have not yet been fully analysed.
The largest wildcat in Europe is at the verge of extinction; it is believed that it could die out in a few years' time unless action is taken.
The Life Lynx project aims to save the lynx population in the Dinaric Alps and in south-eastern Alps.
It brings together eleven organisations from five countries, with Slovenia's partner being the national Forestry Service.
The first lynx will be released in the area of Loški Potok in the region of Kočevska in the south on the border with Croatia.
Before it is released, it will spend some time in a quarantine in the area, also to get used to the new environment.
"We expect an animal to spend some three weeks in quarantine," the group said.
Ten more animals due to arrive in the country
As part of the project, ten animals are expected to be brought to Slovenia, five to the regions of Kočevska and Notranjska and five to Gorenjska, north-west.
"The lynx released in Gorenjska will help connect Dinaric lynx populations with those in the Alps, which is vital for their long-term existence in Slovenia and in the Alps."
As part of the reintroduction, the Slovenian Hunters' Association will help train some 20 police officers who will investigate illegal lynx hunting, in what the project group said was unique in Europe.
You can learn more about the Life Lynx project in Slovenia here