In situ and ex situ conservation

The protection of wild species in Serbia is achieved through the implementation of measures for the protection and improvement of their populations and habitats under in situ conditions and through the system of conservation of natural resources. Numerous endangered and rare species are protected within protected areas as well as areas in the process of gaining the protected status. In addition, habitats of certain species of importance for conservation are protected through the system of establishing the ecological network of the Republic of Serbia.

Equally important is the ex situ conservation of endangered wild species of plants and animals. It is carried out in parks and botanical gardens, zoos and aquariums through various procedures and methods of conservation, breeding and propagation (e.g. Botanical Garden "Jevremovac" of the Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade, Arboretum of the Faculty of Forestry in Belgrade, Zoo parks in Belgrade, Palić and Jagodina, Aquarium "PMF KG" of the Institute of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Natural Science and Mathematics, University of Kragujevac). It is also carried out in aquaculture (individual trout and carp ponds), in private collections of live plants (small gardens, alpine gardens, etc.), wildlife shelters, gene banks, or seed and fruit banks, in specialized laboratories where, under strictly controlled conditions, on a special nutrient medium, plant and animal samples collected in natural habitats - tissue culture, etc. can be maintained and propagated ("cloned") for a long period of time. In addition to the educational and scientific function, among the most important goals of ex situ conservation are the conservation of genetic material of endangered species and the return of individuals of successfully propagated species grown in botanical gardens, zoos and aquariums, or propagated by special laboratory techniques, to their natural habitats.

A special form of ex situ conservation is wildlife shelters for the temporary or permanent care of animals that are incapable of surviving on their own. In addition to the Palić Zoo Wildlife Shelter, established in 2005, the Belgrade Zoo also serves as a shelter for wounded, sick, abandoned and confiscated wild animals unable to survive in nature on their own. The animals are taken care of there until their full recovery and returning to nature.

Assistance to the Institute's associates in the reception and care of wildlife species is provided by members of the non-governmental organization Animal Rescue Serbia (ARS) from Belgrade, the "Zoo Planet" Association, the "Zoo kutak" from Kamenica near Niš, the Reptile and Environment Protection Association "Poskok" from Vladičin Han and the specialist veterinary clinic "Šoji" from Čačak, with whom the Institute cooperates.
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As stated in the Mid-Term Program on the Conservation of Natural Resources for the Period 2011-2020, which is the basis for the implementation of the annual work programs, the professional activities of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia in the field of protection and conservation of biological diversity of the Republic of Serbia are directed to:

➢ Field research for the purpose of studies on the protection of habitats of particular endangered species of wild flora and fauna and studies on the protection of areas proposed for protection
➢ Collecting and processing data on wild plant and animal species and their habitats and habitat types for the purposes of the ecological network (ecologically important areas, ecological corridors, buffer zone)
➢ Identifying, describing, mapping and allocating for protection the priority habitat types, as well as establishing measures for conservation and monitoring of their state
➢ Establishment of a national ecological network and identification of areas for the European ecological network NATURA 2000 (In cooperation with other professional and scientific institutions, the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia prepares documentation for establishing an ecological network in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, in accordance with the criteria established by the law, generally accepted rules of international laws and ratified international treaties.)
➢Monitoring, assessment of the conservation and the threat degree of certain wild species and their habitats and habitat types, especially within protected areas and ecological network
➢ Keeping records of the manner and extent of use, as well as of the threat factors to strictly protected and protected wild species for the purpose of identifying and monitoring the state of their populations and their improvement in accordance with sustainable use
➢Carrying out expert supervision in protected areas, especially from the aspect of conservation and improvement of the state of populations of strictly protected and protected species
➢ Issuing official documents on the conditions and measures for nature and natural values conservation pertaining to the process of drafting and implementing plans, basic documents, programs, projects, works and activities, and proposing compensatory measures
➢ Providing expert assistance to the managers of protected areas, local self-governments, citizens' associations, groups of citizens and individuals in the matters of nature, landscape and natural resources conservation
➢Giving opinions - for scientific research work and other authorized activities regarding strictly protected and protected wild species (e.g. for research and education, population management, repopulation, reintroduction, breeding in in-situ and ex-situ conditions, collection of parental specimens for the purpose of reproduction, breeding of their offspring and trade therein for commercial purposes in registered plantations and farms), for actions and activities prior to the occurrence of damage to the property and other damage that could be caused by strictly protected and protected wild species, in the process of determining the conditions and methods of introducing allochthonous wild species under controlled conditions, in the process of declaring allochthonous wild species invasive, for the purpose of assessing the danger to autochthonous wild species in the case of import of allochthonous wild species for the purpose of keeping them in controlled conditions, for the purpose of relocating individuals of autochthonous wild species in nature, for establishing evidence of the origin of particular specimens of strictly protected and protected wild species for the purpose of their holding in captivity, for international traffic and trade, etc.
➢ Development of an expert basis of the strategy for the conservation of nature and natural values of the Republic of Serbia and the Report on the state of nature
➢ Professional engagement in the process of making an assessment of the acceptability of works and activities in nature
➢ Proposing the scope and content of feasibility studies and environmental impact assessment in the process of reintroduction and wildlife settlement in nature
➢ Organizing and implementation educational and promotional activities in the field of biodiversity and nature conservation
➢ Participation in the implementation of ratified international treaties on nature conservation and other international instruments relevant for the conservation of biodiversity
➢ Inventory of individual biodiversity elements with statistical analyses and reports on their state
➢ Maintaining (GIS) database on protected natural resources, habitats, protected species, ecological network areas within the information system, photo documentation, etc.
➢ Informing the public about natural values, nature conservation, threats to nature, factors and consequences of threats
➢ Co-operation with the ministry of environment and republican inspectorate on the implementation of the Rulebook on the proclamation and protection of strictly protected and protected wild species of plants, animals and fungi, the Rulebook on transboundary traffic and trade in protected species and the Convention on the international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora – the CITES convention
➢ Expert and inspection supervision upon recording the keeping of strictly protected and protected wild species in accordance with the Rulebook on the conditions of keeping, the manner of marking and recording of wild animals in captivity
➢ Taking over and sheltering strictly protected and protected wildlife, as well as species included in the Annexes to the Rulebook on transboundary traffic and trade in protected species, and other intervention activities and measures for the conservation of the habitats of rare, threatened and protected species
➢ Activities to conserve and increase the number of rare and endangered species (e.g. the operation of feeding sites for birds of prey)
➢ Transboundary cooperation in order to protect, conserve and promote endangered species (e.g. reintroduction of rare taxa, establishment of migratory corridors, as well as places for feeding, mating, etc.)
➢ Preparation and participation in the development of Red books, i.e. Red lists of certain groups of organisms
➢ Implementation of unplanned emergency activities and implementation of protection measures (visits to pet shops, kennels and zoos, expert supervision in case of illegal harvesting the protected plant species, keeping and hunting of wild animals)
➢ Production of scientific documentaries on the topic of nature and biodiversity conservation, thematic posters, handbooks, monographs and other educational and propaganda material
➢ Participation in conferences, workshops and seminars with the aim of presenting the scientific and research work of the Institute and promoting the conservation of nature and biodiversity
➢ Cooperation with scientific-professional and educational institutions, non-governmental organizations and individuals for the purpose of nature conservation
➢ Continued monitoring of the state of certain species of wild flora and fauna, their communities and habitats within the framework of the conservation of special and ecosystem diversity
➢ Participation in research into the genetic diversity of species and the collection of materials for the gene bank in order to conserve genetic material and populations of autochthonous, rare and endangered species
➢ Reintroduction of rare and endangered species of plants, animals and fungi
➢ Implementation of the Decree on the control of use and trade in wild flora and fauna:

• Defining the contingents of collecting wild flora and fauna, as well as identification of regions where the collection of certain species would be prohibited on an annual basis
• Analysis of the reports received by legal entities, i.e. entrepreneurs, on the collection and trade in wild flora and fauna in the previous period
• Work in the commissions set up by the ministry responsible for the environment to conduct the call for proposals for commercial collection of protected species of wild flora, fauna and fungi
• Consideration of requests submitted by legal entities, i.e. entrepreneurs for the collection and trade in wild flora and fauna, as well as issuing official opinions on the collection of the required species
• Consideration of requests and issuing opinions to legal, natural persons and entrepreneurs on plantation and farm breeding of protected species
• Co-operation with environmental inspectorates in the control of traffic and trade in wild flora and fauna, as well as joint expert supervision of plantations and farms
• Assistance to persons and organizations interested in the plantation and farming of protected species
• Cooperation with collecting stations and individuals in order to train proper collection (primarily of plant species), as well as to collect as objective as possible information on the quantities collected and the areas in which they are collected
• Elaboration of methods and instruments, as well as consideration of the possibility of implementing the project of monitoring of protected species that are subject to the most intensive collection
• Updating the database of registered purchase stations for the collection of protected wild species, as well as information on plantations and farms within the Institute’s information system
• Cooperation on harmonizing the laws and by-laws pertaining to commercial collection, as well as to any kind of breeding of protected wild flora and fauna
• Preparation of detailed annual reports on the implementation of the Decree
• Participation in projects that in any way concern the collection, use and trade in wild flora and fauna, etc.