The Bern Convention, the Habitats Directive and the conservation of Balkan lynx (Lynx lynx balcanicus) and other large carnivores

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This report identifies and discusses the principal legal obligations imposed by the Bern Convention and the EU Habitats Directive that are of actual or potential relevance for the conservation of the Balkan lynx (Lynx lynx balcanicus) and other large carnivores in the south-west Balkans. Thus, it provides a benchmark to assist an informed assessment of the changes in the laws, policies and practices of North Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo which are necessary in order to ensure the conformity of those laws, policies and practices with the requirements of the two European legal frameworks. The principal obligations in these two legal frameworks concern site protection and generic species protection, as well as some other issues including, importantly, monitoring. Several of these obligations are demanding and set high standards. They range from requirements concerning national legislation to plain obligations of result concerning population levels and conservation status to be achieved and maintained. Regarding the Balkan lynx, attaining these European standards requires each range country to do the following (to name some of the principal requirements): - systematically monitoring the conservation status of Balkan lynx; - designating the most important sites for Balkan lynx as protected areas, and effectively safeguarding them from activities that may adversely affect lynx conservation; - adopting and carrying out effective policies to prevent the illegal killing of lynx; - effectively restoring and maintaining healthy populations of prey species (inter alia by ensuring that any hunting of these prey species is sustainable), to meet the requirements of a healthy lynx populations; - adopting and carrying out a tailor-made and comprehensive set of measures to ensure the restoration and conservation of the species, preferably in the form of a species action plan. All of these measures must be taken with urgency, given the precarious conservation status of the subspecies.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyEuroNatur Foundation
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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