In order to improve the conservation status of the Balkan Terrapin (Mauremys rivulata) in Croatia, following specific goals have been identified:

1. Restoration of habitats and addressing the threats to the Balkan Terrapin population in four Natura 2000 sites

Complete restoration of three degraded ponds with adjacent canals, encompassing at least 36 ha including the surrounding landscape.

Control of succession processes in the ponds, canals and adjacent nesting sites – a total of 2,850 ha restored freshwater habitats in four Natura 2000 sites.

Improving habitat quality by installing sunbathing areas and increasing habitat connectivity by installing corridors for turtles.

Removing the predators from the nesting sites:

  • indigenous predatory species - wild boar (Sus scrofa)
  • non-native predator species - mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus)

Removal of invasive species from the habitats:

  • non-native invasive turtle – pond slider (Trachemys scripta)
  • invasive fish - gambusia (Gambusia sp.)
  • invasive plants - paspalum (Paspalum paspaloides)

Design, testing and distribution a new type of by-catch free, turtle friendly fyke net

Ensure good long-term management by adopting the following documents:

  • Guidelines for restoring and managing Mediterranean ponds and canals;
  • Guidelines for turtle friendly agriculture for landowners;
  • Standards for assessment of ecological status and potential for habitat sustainability for Mauremys rivulata;

2. Reinforcement the Balkan Terrapin population in Croatia through breeding programme

Parallel with the habitat restoration and mitigating other threats for the species, a breeding program in the Zoological Garden of Zagreb is planning ex-situ hatching of 40 Balkan Terrapin individuals. There is also a plan for a reproduction center in Dubrovnik-Neretva County to care for the hatchlings until they are released into the restored pond at the end of the project.

This specific goal will produce:

  • Guidelines for ex-situ turtle management in Croatia;
  • Ex-situ program for reinforcement of Mauremys rivulata population in Croatia;

3. Raising public awareness about the protection of the Balkan Terrapin as an umbrella species for the Mediterranean freshwater habitats

Working with schools in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, tourism sector, local food producers, volunteer networks, media and landowners through:

  • online, hybrid and live workshops
  • seminars
  • educational programs for children
  • tourist programs
  • volunteer actions

Additionaly, writing of a Volunteering management plan for the Public Institution for the Management of Protected Natural Areas of Dubrovnik-Neretva County is also planned.

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