Risnjak National Park: Rescued Lynx Cub Returned to the Wild

Total Croatia News


This is the first case of lynx rescue in Croatia that ended with the animal successfully returned to the wild. Meet Martin the lynx on May 17, 2018

Last year in July, a group of hunters came upon a lynx cub in the woods of the Vinodol area. Lynx are considered endangered in Croatia and are protected by law, which is why several institutions swiftly joined forces so the abandoned cub could be rehabilitated and returned to the wild as soon as conditions allowed for it.

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb and the Intervention team for wolf and lynx of the Ministry of Environment and Energy arranged transport, taking the baby lynx to Zagreb ZOO. It was the only place in the country where the cub could receive proper care and remain isolated. As it was instantly decided the cub would be returned to the wild when the time comes, it had to be placed in an environment resembling its natural habitat – which also implied not coming in contact with people and other animals.


Martin, the rescued lynx cub

As explained by the director of Zagreb ZOO Damir Skok, the staff wanted to prevent the cub from getting too accustomed to people, i.e. start to associate human presence with a food source. Its living quarters were put under video surveillance so the staff could monitor the cub at any given moment and avoid it, leaving the little lynx to grow up in peace.

When the cub was first taken to Zagreb, it was examined by veterinarians who established it had been born in May 2017. It was named Martin after the patron saint of the town where he was found by the hunters. And so the baby Martin went on to grow until the experts announced he was ready for the next phase: relocation to Risnjak National Park where his progress was monitored for a couple more months. (Fun fact: ris means lynx in Croatian, so you can guess who’s one of the most popular residents of Risnjak NP.)


Martin in Zagreb ZOO

Earlier this, Martin was successfully returned to the wild. Experts are able to track him thanks to a GPS collar, and according to a report from the Public Institution ‘Priroda’ (Nature), he’s currently thriving in the woods of Gorski Kotar region. It’s a notable achievement, called ‘a historic success’ by the parties involved in his rescue. Martin makes for the first case of lynx rescue in Croatia that ended in the specimen being nursed back to health and reintroduced to its natural habitat. According to the director of Zagreb ZOO, Martin is able to find food on his own, has a decent perimeter of movement, but never comes close to populated areas. Oh, and judging by the latest GPS data, he had his birthday lunch in Slovenia.

Considering the lynx population in Croatia only counts some 40-60 specimen, each of them is seen as a natural treasure. Most are found in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, one of the most biologically diverse areas in all of Europe.


Source and photo credit: Javna ustanova Priroda

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