Balkan Lynx wildlife conservation holiday in Montenegro
Description of Balkan Lynx wildlife conservation holiday in Montenegro
This Balkan lynx wildlife conservation holiday in Montenegro is an exciting 10-day scientific research expedition, operating in partnership with OSI (Objectif Sciences International), an NGO which has been running scientific research holidays since 1992. This is your chance to accompany an international team of fauna and flora experts into stunning Prokletije National Park and the remote Haila mountains, looking out for wolves and jackals, bear, deer, chamois, badgers and hopefully spotting the shy Balkan lynx. This expedition is ideal for anyone up for an adventure, who loves hiking, wildlife and being immersed in the natural world.
During the course of this 10-day expedition, you will be involved in surveying the mountains of Montenegro, gathering clues about the wildlife living here. You will be taught to conduct proper scientific monitoring and will be living immersed in the natural environment. Alongside the research, there will also be lots of mountain hiking, the chance to learn about Montenegrin culture, enjoy warm hospitality and eat fantastic local food.
The wildlife here is naturally wary of humans and will do its best to avoid us. For the best chance to spot wildlife, we’ll travel to the right places (the experts advise on this), and need to be discreet, patient, and a little bit lucky, too! The Balkan lynx is the hardest animal to see, as it’s naturally elusive, but searching for it makes this expedition exciting.
The mountains will also supply us with delicious fresh food. We will be able to pick enough berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) to make a pie and our local guides will point out the edible mushrooms growing here, so we can create a wonderful pasta dish for dinner.
A sub-species of the European Lynx, the Balkan Lynx is critically endangered and currently on the IUCN Red List. Back in the 1990s, the Balkan lynx was thought to have died out altogether, but a few were spotted in the early 2000s. Today, an estimate 50 animals live within the Dinaric Alps. Prokletije National Park, in the northeast of Montenegro and bordering Albania, was established in 2009 with the primary purpose of protecting the ecosystem here. Today, it lacks the resources, both technical and manpower, to do inventories of flora and fauna. That’s why we have teamed up with OSI to pool our knowledge and skills to undertake this crucial scientific research.
During this expedition, the team will be fitting camera traps in prime locations, and looking out and recording any animal droppings, hair and prints to help build up a detailed database of the wildlife in this region.
Only nine spaces are available on this expedition. Participants much be interested in conservation, be physically fit (there will be between four and six hours hiking each day with a 600m+ elevation difference) and be happy to live in the mountains with only simple accommodation.
1 Reviews of Balkan Lynx wildlife conservation holiday in Montenegro
Reviewed on 28 Jun 2018 by Cathy Bisset
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
It is really almost impossible to narrow this down, every day was an adventure for our expedition. The scenery was fantastic we had great, mountain
climbing and also travelling between the two locations provided an opportunity for down time and an opportunity to the enjoy the wonderful scenery from
the comfort of our bus. Florian who was our guide and an expert in conservation is a wonderful guide and was there for us everyday, we also had 2 local guides, Azad and Enza who helped us keep safe and happy. There were many opportunities to take photographs of the stunning landscape, flowers,
insects, reptiles and birds. Great hospitality where ever we went. Beautiful weather and great accommodation.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Take a good pair of binoculars, be prepared to take a lot of photographs. The expedition was a very small there was only 5 of us but Florian, our guide was very good at bringing everyone together. Read all the information and advice provided for this expedition prior to travel.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
I definitely feel that by going on holiday with this operator could help to raise the profile of the lynx in the Balkans and that local business could benefit for the expedition using their facilities. On the expedition we all picked up litter and all we took away us was photographs and good memories. We kept to the trials and we did not do anything to destroy or disturb the local habitat as far as I know. I feel strongly that this type of tourism can encourage countries that it is worthwhile to save natural habitats and their inhabitants.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Very satisfying and fulfilling. A beautiful experience to see this part of Europe, it was good to get into the remote mountainous areas, but we also spent 2 nights in Podgorica when we went out for a meal and a wander around the city and even saw a tortoise roaming free near the hotel. I would definitely recommend this holiday, it was only 10 days and went in really quickly, but in this we managed to pack in a lot of activities, as well as climbing, we looked for
tracks and checked the cameras to see what animals have been captured on film. Downside was it went in so quickly.
PlanetThe Balkan lynx went missing in the 1990s, then some research traced the lynx again in the early 2000s. Today about fifty individuals lynx inhabit the territory of the Dinaric Alps. The The Prokletije National Park, created in 2009, aims primarily to protect its ecosystem, but today it has little technical and human means to carry out inventories of flora and fauna, and this is the reason why we and Objectives International Science decided to unite their knowledge and competencies to develop this scientific research. This expedition will therefore have a direct positive impact on the preservation of the wildlife.
Our expedition mountain guide is local to the region and is personally selected for his specific knowledge of the area's flora and fauna. They are passionate about the environment and ensure that guests follow the simple principal of leave no trace, only footprints. Our staff monitor this area regularly to maintain paths, trail markers and remove refuse.
As with all of our tours, we give 5% of our profits to sponsor environmental programs within Montenegro in line with the priorities set by the ministry of sustainable tourism. Travel with us also helps support our non-profit NGO – Zero Waste Montenegro.
PeopleBy travelling with us you will ensure ongoing economic benefits, alternative employment and income opportunities for local people and businesses.
As this itinerary includes travel through remote and economically undeveloped regions of the country it provides an excellent opportunity for unique interactions between visitors and the local people, but also is a great source of enhancement to the local economy.
This expedition is being run in close partnership with Prokletje National Park. Our mountain guide comes from the local community. We will stay at local katuns at night which provide support to the park and also local families. Most of our meals will be taken in sheepholds where local farmers will be preparing our breakfasts and dinners. Most of our take-away lunches will also be prepared by the local community.
Tourism also helps to raise local awareness of the financial value of natural and cultural sites. It can stimulate a feeling of pride in local and national heritage as well as an interest in its conservation, especially in the area of the newest National Park of Montenegro – Prokletije.
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