The Slovenia Times

Documentary sheds light on lynx conservation efforts

Environment & Nature
The lynx Blisk released into the Snežnik forests. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

A new documentary film showing how the EU-backed Life Lynx project is trying to save the lynx population of the Dinaric and South-East Alpine regions from yet another extinction premiered at Ljubljana's Kinodvor cinema on 11 September, accompanied by the launch of two children's books on the topic.

In an effort to save the lynx population in Slovenia and Croatia from re-extinction due to inbreeding, 18 lynxes have been relocated as part of the Life Lynx project to rejuvenate the gene pool.

The work is being done by an international team of experts, researchers, conservationists and hunters from Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Romania and Slovakia, who are trying to prevent poaching and are monitoring the animals' whereabouts.

In 1973, six lynxes were released in the woods near Kočevje in the south of Slovenia with the help of hunters and gamekeepers, who continue to play a key role in the Life Lynx project.

"The documentary Together for Lynx only shows part of the efforts to revitalise the once extinct species and that is why I wish projects such as Life Lynx are no longer needed in the future," said the project coordinator Rok Černe from the Slovenian Forest Service.

The documentary, which took five years to make, traces the project from when the first lynx, Goru, was relocated to Slovenia in 2019 up until now.

The project will end in March next year and by then the film will be screened at several Life Lynx events, with the next scheduled to take place on 5 October in the Dina Pivka Centre, established to raise awareness about the coexistence of humans and large carnivores.

The film's cameraman and director Timotej Vrtnik and Gregor Šubic documented the project's major events and also made made short films that are available on the Life Lynx YouTube channel.

Ljubljana Authors Boštjan Gorenc and Desa Muck at the premiere of a documentary on lynx conservation efforts and the LIFE Lynx project. Photo: Bor Slana/STA

Many other activities aimed at raising awareness about the species have been organised, including the Young Lynx Guardians project for children from nine Slovenian schools. Local communities which live with the lynx also took part through local consultation groups.

The stories of the reintroduced lynxes have inspired writer and project ambassador Desa Muck to write a book called Pogumni Maks (The Brave Max). It tells the story of a male lynx as he tries to find a territory of his own and mate, travelling long-distance from the Notranjska region to the Alps and back.

Meanwhile, another acclaimed Slovenian author, Boštjan Gorenc aka Pižama, has written a children's book titled Huda Risinja (The Livid Lynx) about two lynx siblings on their journey to adulthood. The pair encounter many challenges, including interactions with people. Jaka Vukotič added humorous illustrations to draw in the young readers.

The trailer for the documentary is available here.


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