Ljubljana – Efforts to rejuvenate the lynx population in the north-western Gorenjska region have proved successful as the first kittens have been born after five lynx were released into the wild there under the Life Lynx project. This comes after a successful rejuvenation of the lynx population in the south of the country.
The female Aida, who arrived in Slovenia in April alongside the male Zois, seems to have adjusted to the new environment as she has given birth to three kittens, the Life Lynx team said.
Two local hikers spotted Aida and her litter near a forest trail in the Jelovica Plateau area in mid-August. Given data collected with the help of Aida’s GPS collar, the kittens were born some month ago.
Lynx sightings in the wild, particularly of lynx families, are very rare. Experts advise that if one comes across a lynx family in the wild, they should not disturb the animals as the first months after giving birth are key for the survival of the litter.
The female lynx often move their litters between different dens to reduce the risk of potential predators finding them. The mortality rate of kittens in the wild in their first year is 50%.
Life Lynx will keep monitoring the developments regarding the lynx population in Slovenia, including by camera trap sites. This will help the team find out if other two female lynx in Gorenjska, Julija and Lenka, have also mated and reproduced this season.
The main aim of Life Lynx is to salvage and rejuvenate the Dinaric-Alpine lynx population, which had been severely inbred and on the verge of extinction not long ago.
The project includes eleven institutions or organisations from Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Slovakia and Romania and is led by the Slovenia Forest Service.