Olympic medallist helps protect endangered wild cat

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LIFE Lynx is saving the Dinaric-SE Alpine lynx from extinction by introducing new, healthy animals from another population. We recently spoke with one of the project’s ambassadors, Slovenian champion ski jumper Peter Prevc.

Can you tell me about yourself and what you do?

As a professional ski jumper, I’m constantly training to do the best that I possibly can in competitions across Europe. I won the 2016 ski jumping World Cup overall title as well as silver and bronze at the 2014 Winter Olympics. I’m lucky that I can do something that I really love for my job. Not many people can say that!

I am also a father to a two-year old boy called Ludvik. He is my biggest occupation these days.

What do you know about the EU’s LIFE programme?

To be honest, I’m more familiar with the Natura 2000 network, but I do know that LIFE is a major European Programme for preserving nature – and this is something I’m very passionate about.

How did you become involved in the LIFE Lynx project?

I was approached by members of the LIFE Lynx project, who asked me if I would be willing to give my voice to help protect these amazing yet endangered wild cats.

Have you ever seen a lynx in real life?

Unfortunately, not. But in my role as project ambassador, I got to see their footprints. You see, sightings of the lynx are rare - you need a lot of luck to see one in real life.

What have you been doing during your time as LIFE lynx ambassador?

My role was really to talk - to give a perspective on the importance of the lynx’s survival from someone in the public eye. I think it’s important to raise awareness of why this project matters for the lynx and for Slovenia, and that’s what I’ve tried to do.

Do you think your contribution has had a positive impact?

I think it has, yes. My views on how important it is to protect this species have reached certain groups that would not have heard about the project otherwise.  

What does your role as an ambassador for LIFE Lynx mean to you?

As a big nature fan, I’m extremely proud to be part of a project that is trying to keep a precious species from going extinct.

With the COVID-19 crisis, what do you think people in Slovenia can do to enjoy nature?

For once in our lives, maybe we can now pause for a while. You don't have to do much to enjoy nature – just turn off your phone, go to the forest and look around.  Maybe you won’t see a lot at first, but after a while, you will hear sounds, see colours and spot animals and plants. Being in nature has many benefits and I highly recommend it – not just to Slovenians but to everyone.

Image lynx: © LIFE16 NAT/SI/000634. All rights reserved. Licenced to the European Union under conditions.

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Project update:

A new lynx has arrived in Slovenia for release later this month as part of the LIFE Lynx project. The young male will be quarantined in Loški Potok, before being released into the wild by the end of May. Named Boris following suggestions from youngsters at a local school, he was translocated from Romania and will be the fifth lynx released by the project. Peter Prevc also helped choose the name for the new lynx. Read more here

At the end of March, a three-week quarantine ended for lynx Catalin. Watch the video of his transfer to Slovenia and the release into the Snežnik forests:

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