April 13th, 2020
About viruses in nature and the impact on biodiversity

The measures determined by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, both health-hygienic and the measures of social distance, are important in order that certain processes in nature, by their action and stability, prevent the spread of Covid 19 coronavirus. In order to explain the process of virus activity in nature and its impact on biodiversity, we have prepared an expert-informative text written by the experts of the Institute on general characteristics of viruses, with special reference to coronaviruses according to contemporary research.

October 09th, 2020
The marking of the Fourth International Landscape Day in Serbia



The Ministry of Environmental Protection, in cooperation with the PE "Djerdap National Park", the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia and the Faculty of Forestry, will mark the Fourth International Landscape Day in Serbia, on Monday, October 12th, 2020 at 11 AM in the administrative building of the PE "NP Djerdap", the host of this year's event.

The International Landscape Day was established by the Council of Europe with the aim of pointing to the importance of landscape conservation.This year's Landscape Day topic is the implementation of the European Landscape Convention in the sectoral policies, so that the representatives of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Djerdap National Park, the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia and the Faculty of Forestry will present the progress so far in planning and managing landscapes, especially their integration in the spatial planning documents and various sectoral strategies and policies.

On this occasion, the Director of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, Aleksandar Dragišić, M.A., says that "in the process of designating protected areas during the valorization of areas, landscape characteristics and values of the area are considered. In the system of protected areas of Serbia, in the category Outstanding Natural Landscape, there is currently 21 area covering about 10% of the total territory of protected areas. The best known among them are: Vlasina, Pčinja, Ovčar-Kablar gorge, Kamena Gora, Rajac, Ozren-Jadovnik, Lepterija-Soko Grad, Gradac river gorge and others." "As the result of respecting the interaction of natural and cultural heritage and the role of man in the creation of landscapes, since 2019 in the system of protected areas in Serbia there has been the first area designated as Cultural Landscape, namely the ONL "Cultural Landscape Tršić-Tronoša", stressed Director Dragišić.

The Republic of Serbia signed and ratified the European Landscape Convention (ECC) in 2011 and thus joined a number of countries (39) member states of the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe has identified the topic of landscapes as an important field of European policies. The landscape has been identified as part of the cultural heritage, as a cultural and natural asset of direct importance for the quality of life.

You may find more information about it on the website of the Council of Europe:

https://www.coe.int/en/web/landscape/home

January 29th, 2020
On the marking of the World Wetlands Day 2020

The Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia, Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province and Tourist Organization of Surdulica are organizing a national event to mark the World Wetlands Day (WWD 2020) on Friday, January 31st, 2020 in the area of the Outstanding Natural Landscape "Vlasina". In accordance with the theme for WWD 2020, on this occasion a gathering "Wetlands and Biodiversity" will be organized to present activities on the protection of endangered species on the example of Outstanding Natural Landscape "Vlasina" and Special Nature Reserve "Carska Bara", as one of the ten sites in Serbia that are on the list of Wetlands of International Importance, i.e. the sites that have been designated as Ramsar Areas (according to the Convention on Wetlands - Ramsar Convention, adopted in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar).

Considering the fact that 87% of the world’s wetlands have been lost globally in the last 300 years and that 40% of the living world inhabits these areas, one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction, primarily reptiles, amphibians, waterfowl and mammals.

On the occasion of marking the World Wetlands Day 2020, Director of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, Aleksandar Dragišić, points out that “Considering the importance of wetlands conservation, nature conservation in Serbia in 2020 has begun with the designation of two new protected areas that belong to the category of wetlands. These include the Special Nature Reserve "Brzansko Moravište", the old meander and one of the last preserved wetland habitats in Pomoravlje region and the Monument of Nature "Blederija" on the southwestern periphery of the Danube region in Serbia”.

The importance of implementing the Ramsar Convention and national priorities in this field will be presented by Jelena Dučić, Head of the Department of Biodiversity of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and a National Focal Point for the Ramsar Convention. "The issue of biodiversity conservation is as important and urgent today as the climate change issue. This year is a turning point for biodiversity conservation. Global efforts to date have failed, and a new global strategic framework for post-2020 biodiversity conservation will be adopted this year at the 15th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in China. Preserving wetlands and preventing their loss will be part of these discussions at a global level, given their role in conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as the natural solutions they present in mitigating the effects of climate change", says Jelena Dučić on the occasion of marking this important ecological date.

Of the ten designated wetlands of international importance in Serbia, 8 are located in the lowlands of Vojvodina, among which a special place belongs to the area where the Special Nature Reserve "Carska bara" is situated. Located between Begej and Tisa, with a remarkable diversity of landscapes and habitats, the Ramsar area "Stari Begej-Carska Bara" ensures the survival of a large number of plant and animal species, significant and endangered at national and international levels, including more than 250 bird species. "The Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province, in cooperation with the manager and other partners, is making significant efforts to preserve and improve this unique area, especially through active measures of water regime and sensitive wetlands management," says Slobodan Puzović, Deputy Director of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province.

Marking of the World Wetlands Day represents an opportunity to stress the importance of these ecosystems for the life on Earth, especially considering their importance regarding the climate, since 30% of land-based carbon is stored in peatlands, as well as their importance for clean water since swamps and marshes remove pollutants, and for economies regarding the fact that wetlands provide USD 47 trillion in essential services annually.

Healthy and diverse wetland ecosystems are important for humankind by providing a range of ecosystem services that are vital to human life since they support the economy of each country as powerful solutions for health, poverty reduction, climate change mitigation and sustainable development.

In the territory of 171 member states of the Ramsar Convention, 2.375 Ramsar areas (internationally important wetlands) have been designated so far, including 18 transboundary areas, with a total area of 253.614,461 ha. So far, 10 areas of international importance have been designated in Serbia, covering a total area of 63.919 ha. The Đerdap area is in the process of nominating and obtaining the status of the Ramsar area. Among the first designated Ramsar areas were Ludaš Lake and Obedska bara, followed by Stari Begej - Carska Bara, Slano Kopovo, Labudovo okno, Pešter karst field, Vlasina, Upper Danube region, Zasavica and Kovilj- Petrovaradin marshes. Besides Vlasina, which is protected as an Outstanding Natural Landscape, other areas are designated as Special Nature Reserves.


June 19th, 2019
The occurrence of snakes in urban areas and the proper behaviour in case of encounter with a snake

Ten species of snakes inhabit Serbia, three of which are venomous: horned viper, common European viper and Balkan cross adder. There are no venomous snakes in the territory of the capital city of Serbia, Belgrade, however horned viper occurs at the sites some 50 or 60 km south of the Sava and Danube. Horned viper is also the most represented venomous species in Serbia. Common European vipers are fewer and inhabit only high mountainous areas, while Balkan cross adder mainly inhabits Prokletije and Šar Mountain. There are no venomous snakes in Belgrade, however there are Aesculapian snakes. In Belgrade mostly occurs Caspian whipsnake, which can reach up to 200 cm in length, but is completely harmless.

The period of snake activity begins every spring and lasts until mid-autumn. However, due to unstable weather, rain, floods and rising groundwater, as well as high air temperatures, snakes usually seek shelter in the basements of buildings, houses, yards, hedges and parks. Due to the heat, snakes can be found more often in the shade these days than in the sun.

The increased number of snakes in the cities is also influenced by the mating season that is ongoing and snakes can also be found in the unexpected places. The mating season lasts for 15 days, during which snakes’ activity is enhanced, their hormones are active and they do not pay attention to where they are. Since snakes are solitary, they will retreat after the mating season.

In search of food, they can be seen on the landfills where there are many rats, mice and other rodents to feed on. Currently, due to the heat, they hide in bushes and trees, and cellars as well. In order for us to behave properly if we encounter a snake, it is necessary to know how to distinguish between venomous and non-venomous snakes. Here are certain characteristics of venomous snakes:

• pronouncedly triangular head
• rounded body
• without pronounced neck
• shorter and more stout
• often sluggish
• rhomboid or zig-zag body stripe

In case of a bite, non-venomous snakes leave a trace of several sets of teeth, while venomous snakes always leave a trace of two holes.

In case of a venomous snake’s bite, you should see a doctor immediately. In the absence of hospitals, it is important not to panic, than to squeeze poison with your hands and drink plenty of fluids. Lethal outcomes, in the case of Balkan venomous snakes, are extremely rare. In case of a non-venomous snake’s bite, there will be no consequences, but it is best to go to the nearest ambulance right away to have the medical staff clean the wound so that it does not become infected.

Here are some of the measures we can take to avoid encountering snakes:

- When in nature, we should go along beaten paths and hit the ground with a stick to announce our arrival and to make the snake escape on time.
- We should take a good look around the area if we are outdoors.
- If we want to have a picnic in the nature in the shade, we should first check the shaded place to avoid the places where snakes also hide from the sun.
- We should wear long pants and closed-toed footwear.
- The only way to prevent snakes from getting into houses and apartments is to close doors and windows when we are not there.

All snakes are protected species in Serbia. They should not be killed because there is a plenty of benefits from them. One of the most important roles of snakes in nature, given that they are predators, is to regulate the abundance of small mammals, primarily rodents, which we consider to be pests. The presence of snakes is an indicator of healthy environment.

June 5th, 2019
The presentation of new Red books on birds and orthopterans at the National Library of Serbia

The Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, the Faculty of Natural Science and Mathematics of the University of Novi Sad and the Society for the Protection and Study of Birds of Serbia will present to the public the Red Book of Fauna of Serbia III: Birds and the Red Book of Fauna of Serbia IV: Orthoptera at the premises of the National Library of Serbia on Friday, June 7th, 2019, starting at 12:00.

The Red books represent a scientific database of species that are at risk of extinction. The task of Red books is to stress the need to preserve endangered species, to point to the shortcomings in the existing system of protection, and to suggest solutions that could improve the situation or at least slow down negative processes, by means of expert arguments and scientific methods. So far, six Red books have been published in Serbia, the first 20 years ago on plants, and then on the prime butterflies, amphibians and reptiles.

The publishing of two new volumes of the Red Books of Fauna of Serbia represents the two new books of national importance for nature conservation, since they are an instrument and scientific and professional basis for the protection and conservation of wild birds and orthopterans.

The team for compiling the Red Book of Birds of Serbia had the task of collecting, analyzing, interpreting and reporting on the risk of extinction, which would contain the summarized almost unimaginable amount of data and knowledge about birds of Serbia, which for almost three centuries were collected by naturalists and scientists from different professions.
The book presents 352 recorded species and the estimated risk of extinction of breeding populations of 255 species and non-breeding populations of all species. The main purpose of the Red Book of Birds of Serbia was to create a reliable instrument that would present a scientific and professional basis for the protection and conservation of our country's wild birds.

Unfortunately, for as many as 15 regionally extinct species it is now too late, while for a few species there is still hope of nesting some undetected pairs somewhere. However, much effort has been employed to conserve rare bird species such as the saker falcon, the imperial eagle, the golden eagle and great bustard.

The Red Book of Birds of Serbia lists and promotes the best examples of successful bird protection in Serbia, and provides basic recommendations on measures to be taken and ways to implement them in the field. The symbol of successful measures for the protection of rare species is today the griffon vulture, a bird that had only a few breeding pairs in Serbia when activities on its protection began, and today there are over 100 pairs in its colony in the SNR Uvac, which is also the largest colony of these birds in the Balkans.

The Red Book of Orthoptera is the first published book of this type in the world about orthopterans. The Red Book of Orthoptera gives an overview of one group of insects and its current status in Serbia, with an emphasis on endangered and nearly-extinct representatives, to highlight the need for comprehensive protection of the most endangered species of orthoptera. The prersented results describe a multy-decade field research across Serbia and bibliographical data covering a period of more than one and a half centuries. The book presents 35 taxa that the authors consider to be potentially endangered or on the verge of utter extinction from the fauna of Serbia.

May 27th, 2019
A lecture on the amphibians and reptiles of Athos peninsula and Hilandar monastery at the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts .

The Society of Friends of Mount Athos and Hilandar Monastery and the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia will organize a gathering on the topic of "Amphibians and reptiles of Athos peninsula and Hilandar Monastery" at the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts on May 30th, 2019. This gathering will also be a presentation of the first publication on the results of research of nature in the surrounding area of Hilandar Monastery, a monograph "Amphibians and reptiles of Athos peninsula and Hilandar Monastery". The research was conducted by the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia and the Hilandar Monastery.

The lecture about a group of reptiles of Mount Athos, which has been quite well researched, and about a large group of amphibians of this area, will be held by the herpetologists of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, Rastko Ajtić and Danko Jović.

The research result is 35 recorded and described species of amphibians and reptiles, an extremely high number for a rather small region. As a result of research a book "Amphibians and reptiles of Athos peninsula and Hilandar Monastery" was published.

The first part of the book refers to the presentation of all species of amphibians and reptiles on the Mount Athos. This part of book also contains basic keys to identify the species, which may serve as a guide for their identification in nature. In the second part of the book, basic data are provided to present the amphibians and reptiles of Mount Athos in a complex biological and ecological interaction with other groups of animals of this region, as well as their significance in the food chains.

The authors of "Amphibians and reptiles of Athos peninsula and Hilandar Monastery" are Rastko Ajtić, Milivoje Krvavac and Danko Jović, herpetologists of the Institute. The publishers are the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia and the Holy Serbian Imperial Lavra, the Hilandar Monastery. The book is written in Serbian and in English, and richly illustrated with photographs and drawings.

May 14th, 2019
Rtanj Special Nature Reserve, the third protected area in 2019

On the occasion of marking 71 years of work, the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia will present new areas for protection on Tuesday, May 16th, starting at 12:00 at the premises of the Institute’s headquarters in Belgrade (Dr Ivana Ribara 91, New Belgrade).

On this occasion, three new protected areas in Serbia will be presented: Rtanj Special Nature Reserve and Monuments of Nature - caves Tupižnička ledenica and Samar cave system, as well as further efforts and guidelines in the work of the Institute to increase the territory and the number of protected natural areas.

With the designation of three new natural areas as protected, Serbia currently has 461 protected natural areas, which cover the territory of 673.850 ha, accounting for 7.61% of our country's territory.

On the occasion of marking 71 years of work in the field of nature conservation, Director of the Institute, Aleksandar Dragišić stated that "in accordance with the Institute’s competences of the national expert institution in the field of nature conservation, the basic tendencies and directions of nature conservation and environmental protection of the Institute were to increase the area under protection, to conserve resources (land, water, air and forests), as well as to conserve species and habitats, along with strengthening of Serbia's ecological network and establishment of the European ecological network Natura 2000." Mr Dragišić also said that "these tendencies were also related to the increase in forest cover, water conservation and protection against potential pollutants, as well as rational use of natural resources while preserving them in a sustainable manner. This approach would enable us to protect the basic elements of nature, as one of our priorities and to combat the effects of global climate change, concluded Dragišić."

After more than a decade of research work of the Institute on the natural values of Rtanj mountain, which, due to its pyramidal appearance, medicinal herbs growing on its slopes and numerous mysteries of its origin has always attracted domestic and world attention, this mountain has been designated as Special Nature Reserve, which was done according to the Study of the Institute. The decree on designation of the Special Nature Reserve "Rtanj" was published in the "Official Gazette of RS", No. 18/2019 of March 15th, 2019 and entered into force on March 23rd, 2019.

Special Nature Reserve "Rtanj" covers an area of 4 997 17 01 ha. It is located in eastern Serbia, in the southwestern part of the Carpathian-Balkan mountain system, and belongs to the municipalities of Sokobanja and Boljevac. The special value of Rtanj is represented by the specific relief with the cone-shaped peak Šiljak, very steep slopes and karst relief with deep karst pits. The complex geological structure and various geomorphological forms affected the formation of soil, the development of flora and vegetation of unique quality and forest vegetation. The most inaccessible slopes, below the very peak of Rtanj, are overgrown with beech-fir forests, which are a rare phenomenon in this part of Serbia.

Almost 18% of plant taxa of Serbia are represented in the flora of Rtanj. Rtanj is a habitat of strictly protected species such as Ramonda Serbica, Nepeta Rtanjensis, Orchis coriophora, Orchis, Paeonia corallina, Clematis Alpina, Pulsatilla montana and Gentiana acaulis. An extremely rare and endemic species of Nepeta rtanjensis grows only on Rtanj mountain. Among medicinal herbs of Rtanj, Satureja montana is distinguished. Rtanj, as a typical mountain habitat, is also characterized by the presence of large number of bird species. So far, 89 species have been recorded. In the mammal fauna of the Rtanj mountain, the bats fauna of 20 registered species is particularly prominent, which makes 2/3 of the total number of registered bats in Serbia. The presence of three species of bats Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, Rhinolophus hipposideros and Rhinolophus euryale is also imortant since they are on the list of globally threatened species. The watercourses of the foothill of Rtanj mountain are significant because of the presence of autochthonous fish species (brown trout, barbel, gudgeon, etc.), while completely isolated fish populations recorded in Vrmdžan Lake are interesting in terms of evolutionary changes. The fact that slamander Alpine newt, which occurs in high mountainous areas, occurs in the Rtanj mountain range, unambiguously indicates that the area of Rtanj Mt. is a significant habitat of amphibians and reptiles. At the same time, the steppe habitats of Rtanj represent a new site in the distribution of the lizard European snake-eyed skink on the territory of Serbia, which is a strictly protected species.

Monument of Nature - Samar cave system is located on the territory of Svrljig Municipality, with a total area of 56.50 ha, as the northeastern part of Kalafat mountain in southeastern Serbia. The Samar cave system has been placed under protection to preserve the geological, hydrographic and biological values of the fluvio-karst tunnel cave system. The cave system is developed in two levels of channels, and with one constantly submerged level of underground karst circulation. It is also significant as a habitat of rare and endemic species of animals and insects, especially of arthropod species Haasea guidononveilleri, several species of bats, such as Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, Rhinolophus hipposideros and Myotis capaccinii, and fossil finds of animals from the geological periods Pleistocene and Holocene.

Monument of Nature - cave "Tupižnička ledenica" is located in the territory of the municipality Knjaževac - Koželj, with a total area of 1 ha 23a 89 m². It is a karst pit in the southern part of Tupižnica mountain in southeastern Serbia. This monument of nature has been placed under protection to preserve representative geomorphological, geological, hydrogeographic and biological values of the karst pit as a speleological site of the static glacier type, as well as the site of scyophytic species Actaea spicata, Geranium macrorrhizum, Oxalis acetosella, moss species Marchantiapolymorpha and arthropod species Haasea guidononveilleri.

April 16th, 2019
The release into nature of the saker falcon (Falco cherrug) ringed in Austria

The Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia and the Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province organized the release into nature of the saker falcon (Falco cherrug) ringed in Austria, after successful treatment and recovery of the falcon in the wildlife shelter of Zoo garden "Palić". This activity took place on May 20th, 2019, at 13:00 at the area of the village Lebine near Paraćin.

In cooperation with the Republic Inspectorate, the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia organized on July 17th, 2018 the take over and sheltering of the saker falcon with Austrian aluminum ring G 000303 klivv.At Wienna Austria, which was found in Lebine near Paraćin, upon the information of the Society for Protection and Study of Birds.

According to the locals who found the bird, the falcon, which was in a state of exhaustion and starvation, was chased and attacked by two ravens. On the same day, the Republic inspector took the bird and handed it over for treatment and recovery to the Wildlife Shelter at the Palić Zoo.

In Palić Zoo, where the saker falcon was sheltered, it was found that the bird had a mass of only 750 grams, which confirmed the assumption of falcon’s exhaustion, starvation and dehydration.

The protection and return to nature of each saker falcon is extremely important, since, according to recent estimates, 16-21 pairs (32 to 42 adult birds) breed in Serbia. For the last 19 years, the population has declined by 69%, as determined by direct monitoring of the abundance, reduction of species distribution and the potential level of exploitation - illegal killing. The nesting and non-nesting part of the population was assessed as critically endangered in Serbia.

According to the 2006 and 2007 censuses, the number of breeding pairs was 50-60.

Saker falcon (Falco cherrug) is a strictly protected species according to the Rulebook on the Proclamation and Protection of Strictly Protected and Protected Wild Species of Plants, Animals and Fungi (Official Gazette of RS, No. 5/2010, 47/2011, 32/2016 and 98/2016).

This falcon is an endangered species at the European level as well and is listed in Annex I of the European Birds Directive and in Annex II (strictly protected species) of the Berne Convention.

In Serbia, installation of nesting platforms on transmission line poles is being implemented as an active protection measure. To this end, educational programs are also being implemented for workers of PE "Electric Power Network of Serbia", local population, farmers, hunters and pigeon breeders, along with the regular monitoring of the population numbers on an annual basis.

April 9th, 2019
The marking of National Nature Conservation Day

Nature Conservation Day, April 11th, is a day of national importance in Serbia, which is established by the Law on Nature Conservation in 2009. It is marked in order to present the importance of conserving the nature of Serbia. This date is selected for the reason that on that day, more precisely on April 11th, 1949, for the first time in Serbia an area was designated as a protected natural area - the Monument of nature Velika and Mala Ripaljka in the municipality of Sokobanja.

The importance of conservation and the value of protected areas will this year be presented by the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia and PE "Srbijašume" on the example of Nature Park "Radan", an area of national and international importance according to its natural and cultural heritage.

To this end, a gathering will be held with the tour of the archaeological site "Caričin grad" in Radan Nature Park, on April 11th, 2019, starting at 12:30 pm at the Center for visitors "Teodora", which is located in the vicinity of the archaeological site.

On the basis of multi-annual research and valuing of Radan Mt. and in accordance with the legal regulations and its institutional competence, the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia prepared the Study as a proposal for protection of the area as Nature Park "Radan". The Study was submitted to the competent Ministry for further procedure in early 2017, and with this step the legal procedure for designating the protected status was officially commenced, which was in accordance with Article 42 of the Law on Nature Conservation.

Part of the mountainous area of Radan in southern Serbia was placed under protection as Nature Park "Radan" on an area of 41,312.66 ha. The area is classified as the protected area in the category I, an area of international and national, that is, of exceptional importance.
Nature Park "Radan" was placed under protection in order to conserve its geological, biological and landscape diversity.

The flora of Radan area accounts for about 10% of the flora of the Balkan Peninsula and about 22% of the flora of Serbia. The area of Radan is characterized by a relatively large number of birds, some 107 species or about 30% of the total number of bird species in Serbia. In the wider area of Radan, there are dozens of sites of monumental heritage that are specific in terms of the time of their origin, degree of preservation and artistic values. These sites include the archaeological site Caričin grad (Lebane), Šturac - Golubovac church (Bojnik), Ivanje - remains of the church of Margaret the Virgin (Bojnik), Borince - Marino kale (Bojnik), Magaš – the church of St. Lazar (Kuršumlija, Prolom).

The management of Nature Park "Radan" was assigned to PE "Srbijašume".

April 9th, 2019
All set for the safe return of the griffon vulture Dobrila from Turkey to Serbia

The joint efforts of state bodies and professional institutions and organizations of Serbia and Turkey have enabled the preconditions for a safe return of the griffon vulture, a bird of prey named Dobrila that flew from Serbia to Turkey, from where it could not return to its colony in the Special Nature Reserve "Uvac". After a long flying, the feeble and starving bird of prey got sheltered by local people in Turkey, who have repeatedly tried to help it fly off. However, the bird of prey was constantly returning and for that reason the action of its return to the country of origin, the colony in "Uvac" Reserve in Serbia, was commenced.

All relevant institutions from Serbia and Turkey were involved in the organization of the griffon vulture`s transport in order to provide the necessary documentation (CITES permits), which is in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and transport, both from Turkey to Serbia, and from the airport in Belgrade to its colony in the Special Nature Reserve "Uvac". In addition, the necessary ornithological and veterinary support has been arranged during the transport of the griffon vulture Dobrila.
Under the patronage of the Turkish Embassy and with support of the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in Serbia, His Excellency Tanju Bilgic, the company Turkish Airlines will provide the transport of griffon vulture from Urfa to Istanbul and then to Belgrade, so that the griffon vulture’s return is expected on Friday, late in the afternoon of April 12th.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of the Republic of Turkey issued the export CITES permit (certificate), whereas the import CITES permit was issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia. The request for collection of the necessary documents was initiated by the NGO "Foundation for the Protection of Birds of Prey" from Belgrade, and the Institute for Biological Research "Siniša Stanković", of the University of Belgrade, obtained the CITES permits.

The official opinion on the issuance of the import CITES permit with measures of treatment and disposal of a specimen of griffon vulture till its complete recovery was issued by the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia. Transportation to the voliere (a wire cage for temporary accommodation of birds) in the Special Nature Reserve "Uvac" and care of Dobrila till release into the nature will be provided by the manager of the protected area, "Uvac" Reserve from Nova Varoš, Serbia.

The procedure for returning the bird of prey will be conducted by the Institute for Biological Research "Siniša Stanković" in accordance with the measures prescribed by the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia. Upon arrival at the airport "Nikola Tesla" in Belgrade the griffon vulture will first pass customs and veterinary control, after which it will be directly transferred to the shelter (voliere) in the Special Nature Reserve "Uvac". Prior to the sheltering, a veterinary examination will be carried out, on the basis of which an appropriate report will be made, and afterwards the bird will be monitored during the stay at the shelter until the favourable conditions for its return to nature. During the stay at the shelter, a permanent veterinary supervision, appropriate nutrition and treatment in a manner that would allow a successful repatriation are needed. The decision on the griffon vulture’s to return to nature will be made by the experts of the veterinary organization and the "Uvac" Reserve, in consultation with the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia and the Institute for Biological Research "Siniša Stanković", about which the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia will be notified in due time. At the airport "Nikola Tesla" in Belgrade the rangers of the "Uvac" Reserve will take over the care of the vulture, together with the veterinary service and ornithologists of the Institute for Biological Research "Siniša Stanković" and the ornithologists of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia.

About the griffon vulture Dobrila's return flight operated by the Turkish Airlines and its coming to the colony at "Uvac" Reserve, Turkish Airlines will make a documentary.
Transfer of the bird of prey by plane is the only way of its return home, since it has been taken care of on several occasions by Turkish veterinarians. Upon arrival at the "Uvac" Reserve, Dobrila will be sheltered in a voliere in order to successfully spend the period of adaptation and re-acquisition of the self-feeding habit.

On this occasion we would also like to express our gratitude to the company "Kovački centar" from Valjevo for their donation in providing the transport of the Griffon vulture from Turkey to Serbia.

March 20th, 2019
On the occasion of International Day of Forests and World Water Day

In 2019, the International Day of Forests (IDF) will address the theme, "Forests and Education." It will seek to raise awareness on how sustainably managed forests provide a wide array of contributions in this area.

The UN General Assembly proclaimed 21st March the International Day of Forests in 2012. The Day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.

22nd March each year is global World Water Day. On this day we try to remind people about the significance of fresh water and to promote sustainability for fresh water resources' management. It’s a day to celebrate water. It’s a day to prepare for how we manage water in the future. Each year World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. For 2019 this is: 'Leaving no one behind'.

Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia and PE "Srbijašume", Forest management Unit in Niš, will organize on March 21st an educational program for students and teachers from elementary school "Karadjordje" in Gornji Matejevac near Niš.

On this occasion a quiz will be organized on identifying plants and animals of forests and aquatic habitats, along with presentation of forests and aquatic natural areas of the surrounding area of Niš and screening of the film "Awakening of Nature", after which students will plant trees in the school yard together with associates of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia and PE "Srbijašume"
.

The Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia has set as one of the objectives in nature conservation the conservation and improvement of water and forests as our greatest natural resources and the most important sources of biological diversity. From the aspect of water conservation as a natural area, special attention is given to the protection of water courses and riparian areas, wet and waterlogged areas, brackish water terrains, natural lakes and ponds. Within the protection of these natural areas, the control of exploitation of mineral resources, plant and animal species and their use as tourist attractions is also necessary. The special importance of forests is in the maintaining the ecological processes and balance, protecting sensitive ecosystems, basins and water sources. It is important to mention that the forests within the protected natural areas of Serbia occupy 80% of the protected area.

Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, within its strategic activities on increasing the protected areas and on improvement of their management through national and international protection networks, focuses on the protection of forest and water complexes as core values of nature in Serbia.

May 2015
On the unfavourable weather conditions

In view of the forecasted weather conditions, the citizens of Serbia are being asked to remain calm and follow the instructions of the competent institutions.

As in 2014, the Institute places all its human and professional resources at the citizens’ disposal and will participate in relief and rescue operations should worsening occur.

Director of the Institute
Aleksandar Dragišić

July 2014
An appeal to media reporting on the grasshoppers at the area of Kuršumlija


Regarding the sensationalist headlines in some media about the appearance of grasshoppers near Kuršumlija, which was presented by exaggerated and inaccurate information, including inaccurately cited data of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, we appeal to all the print and electronic media, as well as the editors of the web portals to reported on this phenomenon in an unprejudiced and fact-based manner.

As we have already informed the public, the Institute’s experts found that it was the case of the species Caliptamus italicus (Italian locust) larvae. It is a species common in our region, which also inhabits other parts of Europe, Asia and North Africa. This species is widespread in Serbia and often encountered even in the vicinity of Belgrade. Despite the false claims of some media, the life cycle of these grasshoppers does not affect their numbers, which means that their mass appearance near Kuršumlija is not expected to grow in the future, especially due to the fact that their predators will also affect their numbers. There was also the alleged claim that the locusts would spread to Belgrade, and we have to say that, on the contrary, a mass occurrence of Italian locusts has only been recorded at a small area near Kuršumlija.

Therefore we appeal to all media to include these facts into their further reporting on this matter.

May 22nd 2014
On the occasion of the International Day for Biodiversity


TAKING CARE OF NATURE FOR THE HUMAN WELFARE


Integral and wise management of natural resources for the preservation of biodiversity and the survival of local communities

Around the world, May 22nd marks the International Day for Biodiversity. This date was designated by the United Nations to warn about and raise awareness of the importance and necessity to preserve biodiversity, and to stop the decrease in the number of species, ecosystems and genes on the planet.

On this important international environmental date Serbia has struggled to gain control of the flood, in an atmosphere of disbelief and grief at the tragic consequences of this natural disaster. Nature, it seems, has once again showed its power. However, the flood that has hit us at the same time reminds us once again of its own mechanisms to mitigate such disasters.

"Apart from being a valuable habitat of rare plant and animal species, centers of biodiversity are natural habitats with great potential to mitigate the effects of natural disasters, also providing numerous resources of great importance to humans", said Aleksandar Dragišić, the Director of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia.

An example of these areas in Serbia, in addition to natural resources such as Obedska bara (pond), Zasavica and Morovićko - bosutske šume (forests), is the Foreland of the left bank of the Danube, an area in the process of gaining protection status, which plays an important role in maintaining biodiversity, but also in regulating the hydrological regime of the watercourse. "The Institute in cooperation with the Belgrade Secretariat of Environment has prepared the Study on protection of the Foreland of the left bank of the Danube, one of the largest floodplains in the Serbian part of the Danube, the most important habitat of white-tailed eagle. This area has a specific forest vegetation, which is a protection against erosion, and plant and animal species whose life is bound or dependent on water. The preservation of these and similar wetlands and the prevention of unplanned construction, repurposing the space, uncontrolled waste disposal and other degrading human activities, are a condition of preventing the decline of biodiversity in this and other areas", said Director Dragišić.

Halting the decline in biodiversity is important both on the national and international level. According to the World Conservation Union – IUCN data, of the estimated 52.017 species in the world, 17.936 are facing extinction; out of 5.490 mammals, 78 species are extinct or no longer inhabit the wild, 188 species are critically endangered, 450 endangered and 492 vulnerable species; out of 6.285 species of amphibians, which are one of the most endangered species on the planet, 1.895 species are threatened to extinct.

The survival of wild plants and animals directly depends on the use of natural resources. Sustainable resource management and traditional forms of economy directly contribute to the conservation of biological diversity, and are a solid basis for the development of local communities", said Director Dragišić. A life in communion with nature and a wise, integral management of natural resources and natural heritage, is a condition for the survival of not only wildlife, but also humans.



April 11th, 2014
On the occasion of Nature Conservation Day .


Serbia marks Nature Conservation Day Nature Conservation Day was established in Serbia in 2009 and marked each year on April 11th, with the aim to warn the general public of the importance to conserve the country's natural heritage.

Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, together with Nature park Mokra Gora, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Natural Resources, Mining and Spatial Planning, Provincial Secretariat of Urban Planning, Construction and Environmental Protection and the Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province organized celebration of this, regarding nature, most important date, in one of the protected areas of Nature park "Šargan - Mokra Gora".

This was the opportunity to bring together the representatives of government bodies, professional institutions, protected areas managers and non-governmental organizations in the field of nature conservation. The presentation of current topics in the field of nature conservation pointed to particularly important issues in this field.

"Our priority is to increase the percentage of the territory of Serbia under protection, that is, the number of protected areas. Nature conservation is more than ever necessary in Serbia. It's not just European and international standards, which is necessary to achieve if we are to become equal members of the international community, it is also a vital national interest", said Aleksandar Dragišić, Director of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia on the occasion.

In Serbia, six percent of the territory is protected, that is, 474 areas - five national parks, 17 nature parks, 16 landscapes of outstanding features, 69 reserves, 325 natural monuments and 39 areas of cultural and historical significance.

"We expect the percentage of protected territory of Serbia to be significantly increased by adopting decisions on the protection of areas, according to the Studies on protection, prepared by the Institute during the past year, and equal progress in improving the management of areas that have already been protected. The development of national ecological network and joining the European ecological network Natura 2000 is a priority in nature conservation of Serbia in the future, and we will employ much effort in this matter", said Mr. Dragišić.

As Mr. Dragišić concluded, "Regarding nature conservation, the endeavors to make every citizen of our country aware of the importance to conserve natural values, biodiversity and geological heritage of Serbia, are equally important, as well as their behavior and attitudes which might contribute to better conservation".

Nature Conservation Day was established in 2009, by adoption of the Law on Nature Conservation ("Official Gazette of RS", no. 36/2009 and 88/ 2010). Article 106 of this law stipulates that, in order to improve the protection of nature, every year Nature Conservation Day should be marked, with the aim to encourage in an appropriate manner the improvements in this field. April 11th was chosen, because on that day in 1949, for the first time in Serbia a natural resource was institutionally protected. It was Natural Monument "Velika i Mala Ripaljka" in the municipality of Sokobanja.

Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia is the most prominent professional institution established by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, which performs protection and improvement of the country's natural heritage. As a unique institution in Serbia, with the main task to protect, improve and preserve the country's natural resources, its activity is realized through protection of natural resources, biodiversity and geological heritage, educational and promotional activities, publishing scientific-professional and popular publications, as well as through cooperation on both national and international level.

November 29th, 2013
A winter census of griffon vulture has shown the increase in the number of griffon vultures in Serbia and the region

Various projects and conservation measures increased the numbers of griffon vulture, a strictly protected species under threat of extinction

November 23rd was the date when regular annual monitoring of griffon vultures, a strictly protected species under threat of extinction, was conducted in all known habitats in Serbia and other Balkan countries. Regarding the completion of the winter census, it can be concluded that a total of 358 birds counted in Serbia was an increase in griffon vulture population, compared to last year, and the largest since the application of measures to protect this species in Serbia. Within international action of birds counting, conservationists have found that a total of 602 counted birds - 358 birds in Serbia, 182 in Bulgaria and 62 birds in Greece, was an increase in the griffon vulture populations in this part of the Balkans and on the whole.

Griffon vulture census is a part of an international initiative for the Balkans launched in 2008, and this is the second year of Serbia taking part in this activity. The activity means that in all known habitats in the Balkans and on the same date, griffon vulture counting is performed to gather the information on the population status and the required conservation measures. Ornithologists, members of the Association for the Protection of Birds in Serbia, and nature reserves managers, in coordination with the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, carried out the activity on three sites of the main breeding colonies, and on the fourth, recently determined site. These were: special reserves "Uvac", "Trešnjica river gorge" and "Mileševka river gorge" and the area of Sokolske planine (mountains).

In the Special Nature Reserve "Trešnjica river gorge" a presence of at least 45 individuals was determined, in the Special Nature Reserve "Mileševka river gorge"- 55 individuals, and in the Special Reserve "Uvac"- 258 individuals. Based on these data, it is estimated that the overall number of vultures is increased by about 50 individuals, compared to last year, and considering each breeding habitat apart, there is a trend of increase in populations, except in the Mileševka river gorge.

In addition to the total number of griffon vultures before the start of the next breeding season, this activity will be the basis for determining the age structure of birds. It can be concluded already that the results of this year's winter census have confirmed that Serbia remains one of the most important areas when it comes to preserving the griffon vulture as a strictly protected species.