Expert workshop at the Zoological Garden of Zagreb


As a part of the LIFE for Mauremys project, on March 15, 2023, Zagreb Zoo hosted a workshop to build on the knowledge about breeding of endangered reptiles and restoring their populations in nature. Project partners welcomed experts from Hungary, Italy, and Austria.

Hungarian colleagues from the Convipursrak Life project had a successful project to preserve the Hungarian meadow viper (Vipera Ursinii Rakosiensis), and as a part of the project "Sustainable Nature Preservation in Hungary in Natura 2000 areas", they have the experience of writing "Protocol for Field Research of European Pond Turtle". We welcome their knowledge in planning activities such as ex-situ breeding, habitat restoration and removing the predators from the nesting sites.

Italian colleagues participated with the experience on the Life Trachemys project where they were removing invasive alien turtles of genus Trachemys from natural habitats. They also have experience on the Life Urca Proemys project for the preservation of European Pond Turtle, where they will also have similar conservation activities as Life for Mauremysproject. A colleague from Austria has years of extensive experience with turtle conservation. With this workshop we are continuing a history of good collaboration with all these experts.

Project coordinator Dragica Šalamon, from the University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture, presented our project activities to the participants. She also explained genetic differences between Balkan Terrapin populations in Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

We exchanged experiences related to the pond restoration - This complex intervention in the environment requires a thoughtful approach, so we discussed this project activity in many details. To ensure good long-term management, during this project we will write the Guidelines for restoring ponds and nesting sites.

The workshop host from Zagreb Zoo, Ivan Cizelj, presented plans for the facility for assisted breeding of the Balkan Terrapins. By the end of the project, all the expert knowledge required for the successful assisted breeding of this species outside its natural habitat will be collected in Guidelines for ex-situ turtle management, for scientists and researchers, to help with successfully carrying out such activities in the future.

The Balkan Terrapin hatchlings from Zagreb will be released into the restored and secured habitat in Dubrovnik-Neretva County. There is a plan for 40 hatchlings from assisted breeding to be released.

This is the first in a series of planned expert workshops, with the aim to produce sustainable and replicable project results, not only for the project's duration, but also years after its completion.



Date of publication:24 of March 2023

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