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Goru the lynx to save Slovenian wild cat population

Loški Potok, 14 May - Slovenian forests have welcomed another lynx from abroad after 46 years. Goru the lynx, who spent a few weeks in quarantine after being captured in Romania and brought to southern Slovenia at the end of April, was released into the wild on Tuesday.

Loški Potok
Goru, a lynx from Romania, released into the wild in Slovenia as part of the international Life Lynx project.
Photo: Aljoša Rehar/STA

Loški potok.
Izpust risa Goruja iz prilagoditvene obore v naravo.
Foto: Aljoša Rehar/STA

Goru is the first of ten lynx which will arrive to Slovenia as part of the international Life Lynx project. The initiative strives to restore the regional lynx population, which is facing extinction in Slovenia due to inbreeding.

One of the hunters who reintroduced the lynx population to Slovenia in 1973 released Goru into the wild today. The Slovenian lynx are descendants of the six lynx which were brought to the country from Slovakia that year.

The remaining lynx population in Slovenia includes between 15 and 20 wild cats. The project team, whose goal is to preserve the lynx population in the Dinaric Alps and south-eastern Alps, will bring five lynx to central Slovenia or the Kočevje region (SE) and five to the Gorenjska region (NW).

Slovenia will thus try to save its lynx population by bringing animals either from Romania or Slovakia and providing long-term solutions for population integration, Rok Černe of the Slovenian Forest Service, which manages the project in Slovenia, said at today's press conference.

According to the Ljubljana Biotechnical Faculty, the 1973 lynx reintroduction was successful, with lynx growing in numbers and migrating to Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, but it could not bring Slovenia's lynx back from the brink of extinction due to inbreeding. The only solution is to introduce new lynx to the area and thus strengthen the population.

The head of the service Damjan Oražem wished that Goru would stick around in Slovenia and make it his habitat, hunting deer and other smaller mammals.

He also pointed out that lynx were not dangerous to farm animals. They are solitary animals, hunting alone by stalking their prey for some 50 metres and releasing it in case they are not successful.

The head of the Slovenian Hunters' Association Lado Bradač welcomed the arrival of Goru and wished for him to procreate as soon as possible so that "our descendants would be able to observe lynx in the wild".

The head of the Environment Ministry's nature preservation unit Marija Markeš expressed her gratitude to the Slovenian project team of the national forest service and for the hunters' contribution to the project.

She said that the ministry would strive to assist in the long-term conservation of the country's lynx population.

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© STA, 2019