Grant Recipients Conference, Montenegro 2018

Grant Recipients Conference, Montenegro 2018

3-6 February 2018

Through the help of Rufford Conference in Montenegro, we have observed several impacts both on the researchers and on its conservation strategies. The main impacts can be found below:

1. Through the grant that Rufford provided, early career researchers and students have joined to the conference which gave them a chance to enlarge their view on scientific and conservation researches to develop accurate conservation strategies. Further, they had the chance to listen the success and failure stories of each researcher which will eventually help them to develop their own researches in more effective grounds.

2. This year Rufford Conference gathered researchers both from terrestrial and marine research areas which provide a chance for both sides to understand the research coverage, emphasize the importance of both aspects and end up with building possible future researchers that will not only focus species level but also ecosystem level.

3. Each scientific publication emphasises the importance of data sharing, intelligent designs and online platforms. One of the goals of this year’s conference was to bring a new way of looking to these aspects, understand the perspective of Rufford Conference researchers on these relatively new areas and encourage the use of intelligent designs and online platforms.

4. At the end of the Conference, new relationships, understanding and way of looking to science and conservation were built between the researchers that gave a raise to several future projects that has joint nature between the ecosystems.

5. Finally, for the first time we have built a website specifically designed for the Rufford Conference (, which helped us to spread the word of the conservation efforts of researchers.

We also get in touch with each researcher of the Conference and asked their opinion about Rufford Small Grant programme and importance for them and species they protect:

For Dilara Arslan, from Mediterranean Conservation Society, Rufford funding is important because the funds for nature conservation in Turkey generally support professional person who is expert like as prof. or co-financing is necessary etc. Tubitak sometimes supported undergraduate students but that time generally they funds more technical projects for companies etc. On the other hands Nature conservation is not a priority issue in our country. For Dilara, it is still hard to find grants for a kind of Marmaris Salamander projects. Marmaris salamander is an endangered and endemic species in Turkey. Besides there is lack of knowledge on ecology and population status / trends in Turkey and the locals are not aware of this value. The Rufford Foundation supported her and her team to build a capacity for research and create awareness on that animal.

“We have planned all your work with this view. Our project aims and steps can be repeatable for the other Lycian salamanders which are listed as endangered category by IUCN. We think that most effective activity is the Marmaris Salamander festival. We reach many local children and their family to introduce the Marmaris Salamander but also, we learned their idea /opinion of Marmaris Salamander. This kind of outputs will help us to figure out conservation practice. In our project, 20 volunteers worked and half of them biologist and the other half are artist /performer (like singers, theatre player) and public relations specialist. We shared all our experience with them. We wrote two articles. One of them submitted amphibians and reptile conservation which is about current distribution and we have yet to write the other which is about population parameters and ecology.”

For Prof. Andrej A. Gajić, National Geographic Explorer, Head of the Department for ecology and conservation Sharklab ADRIA from Bosnia and Herzegovina, was very difficult to get both funds and support for entire marine fauna, because post-war government and public institutions, unfortunately do not pay almost any attention to this part of the country. His project has significantly raised awareness in wider public masses - as evidenced by the fact that his team received numerous very good comments and acknowledgements.

The Rufford Foundation enabled Andrej and his team to conduct very first field expeditions and pioneering studies in pathology and radiology of elasmobranch fish. Besides, the Foundation enabled him to educate the future generation of conservationist and to raise awareness among wider public masses in our country. He have allowed all interested students to participate in both field and laboratory analysis conducted through his project. In such way, all interested participants have gained significant experience which can be used for conservation of other threatened taxa in our country, as well as other parts of the Balkans. Conducted studies, both at the field and in the lab, have identified and prioritized all conservation need for elasmobranchs that permanently or temporarily inhabit the waters of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Together with my team I have developed the strategy for long-term in-situ conservation in cooperation with the Municipality of Neum and Ministry of environment and tourism which present a linchpin in the government and civil engagement.

Most important tangible conservation impact is reflected in the Red List proposal, as well as the proposal for the initial Strategy for long-term in-situ conservation of elasmobranchs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although there is more work on this very important issue, we managed to set up the basics and to connect government and civil sector to work together on the species/habitat conservation.

Through grant I have organized workshops for the education of undergraduate students (primarily students of biology and ecology) which is necessary to support the future generation of conservationists. Besides, I always call students to join me in all the activities (both at the field and in the lab) in order both to educate them and encourage them to take the action and became the future conservationist. Our country is rich in threatened biodiversity, and we need much better quality conservationist than we have at the moment.

I chose to publish information in local zoological peer-review journals, primarily because of the fact that people in Bosnia and Herzegovina often have difficulties in both understanding the English language and having access to specific journals. Besides, some results have been published in the international pathological congress organized by Adriatic Society of Pathologists and at the 27th Rufford Conference in Bar organized by Natural History Association of Montenegro and Marine Mammal Research Association. “

In projects of Dr Ana Golubović, Assistant Professor at Faculty of Biology at Belgrade University, distribution of European Pond Turtle, which is strictly protected and Data Deficient on national level, was for the first time explored in central Serbia. Ecosystems which they inhabit are also conservation priority across Europe (Appendix II of the Bern Convention), but are purely studied in Serbia. Additionally, public awareness was aimed from primary school pupils to wide public, about illegal trade on Chelonian species in Balkans and Serbia.

In projects of Ana Golubović many students and experienced researchers were included in filed research. Some of the students showed exceptional interest in field work and Chelonians, and hopefully it will result in at least two master thesis - giving opportunity to young conservationists. Additionally, development of Biologer data base already attracted colleagues from neighbouring countries, and additional cooperation concerning ideas and funding are expected very soon not only in NGO sector across Serbia, but also in the region. In projects of Ana Golubović distribution of Chelonian species in Serbia was additionally explored, along with all other reptile species which were recorded in the field. These data on distribution were presented on dozen of scientific conferences, published as:

 Urošević A., Ljubisavljević K., Tomović L., Krizmanić I., Ajtić R., Simović A., Labus N., Jović D., Golubović A., Anđelković M., Džukić G. (2015) Contribution to the knowledge of distribution and diversity of lacertid lizards in Serbia. Ecologica Montenegrina 2 (3) pp. 197-227;

 Tomović L., Urošević A., Ajtić R., Krizmanić I., Simović A., Labus N., Jović D., Krstić M., Đorđević S., Anđelković M., Golubović A., Džukić G. (2015) Contribution to the knowledge of distribution of Colubrid snakes in Serbia. Ecologica Montenegrina 2 (3) pp. 162-186;

 Ljubisavljević K., Tomović L., Simović A., Krizmanić I., Ajtić R., Jović D., Urošević A., Labus N., Đorđević S., Golubović A., Anđelković M., Džukić G. (2015) Filling in the gaps in distribution data of the Snake-eyed skink Ablepharus kitaibelii Bibron and Bory, 1833 (Squamata: Scincidae) in Serbia. Ecologica Montenegrina 2 (3) pp. 247-254

 Krizmanić I., Urošević A., Simović A., Krstić M., Jović D., Ajtić R., Anđelković M., Slijepčević M., Đorđević S., Golubović A., Žikić V., Džukić G. (2015) Updated distribution of the European pond turtle Emys orbicularis (Linnaeus, 1758) and its conservation issues in Serbia. Archives of Biological Sciences 67(3), 1043-1053

These four papers, along with data gathered on Testudo hermanni and sent as a final rapport to The Rufford Foundation, served as a basic data for Red Book of Reptiles of Serbia (2015).

After this period one more paper was published:

 Golubović A., Grabovac D., Popović M. 2017 Actual and potential distribution of the European Pond Turtle (Emys orbicularis) in Serbia and conservation implications. Acta Zoologica Bulgarica Supplement 10: 49–56.

Two more are currently in preparation: on distribution of invasive Red-eared slider, and on distribution of Hermann's tortoise. In all of these papers and conference reports, The Rufford Foundation was acknowledged.

Péter Villányi, Kiskunság Society of Protection of Birds, with the help of The Rufford Foundation was able to organize several bird banding expeditions, and could take steps forward to raise awareness. He could support a local association to develop their knowledge and experience about reed beds and also could work out good relations with local people.

The Rufford Foundation helped his Association to involve a lot of enthusiastic researchers to be involved in the migration research of the moustached warbler. With his team he got clear about the actual threats of reed beds in Albania and gave suggestions to local stakeholders to designate sites to Natura 2000. Peter with his team work together with the Albanian Ornithological Society which turned out to be a really active and dedicated partner. With the help of them they could reach a lot of youngsters in the country. They held several presentations about bird ringing and nature conservation. Data were shared with the Hungarian Bird Ringing Centre, so it is available to everybody who needs it. Partner AOS also gets all the ringing data and biodiversity information Dr Aylin Akkaya Baş, Scientific Director of Marine Mammals Research Association (DMAD), through the Rufford grant, got a chance to carry on long term, systematic and dedicates surveys in the Levantine Sea, where suffered from lack of research. As a developing country, Turkey, has limited fund on the subject and The Rufford Foundation was the main donor on our projects. Through its help, Antalya Bay is now a candidate important marine mammal habitat (IMMA). Further, Aylin with her team carried on wide range of public awareness campaigns and undertake capacity building activities with over 50 students and researchers trained on the subject. Lastly, her organisation became the partner NGO of ACCOBAMS and contributed their data to their database. Additionally to another international platform (TursioMed) and widen our research to the sperm whales and beaked whales. Lastly, she with her team have developed an online data sharing platform (CETAZOOM) for photo identification of cetaceans and received several photographs from fishermen with rare species sightings.

“Without the help of Rufford grant, we could never start up our survey efforts in the Levantine. Through our focused and hardworking nature, the project outcomes spread both to the scientific and public communities. Through Rufford support, we are one of the several NGOs which is actively contributing ACCOBAMS and also recently awarded with a grant from WWF to support our conservation effort. Lastly, we build up many Mediterranean wise international collaborations, ranging from University of Bari, Sn Andrews University and CIMA foundation. With the support of Rufford, we carried on scientific training courses for university students and successfully trained more than 50 students both from Turkey and abroad. Lastly, our results revealed several important marine mammal habitats for endangered species, from monk seals to beaked whales, in areas that has nothing none previously. The results are presented to the policy makers and we are in close relationship with them for priority areas.”

Each month throughout the RSG project (24 months), Aylin have gathered students from all over the world, support their costs to the project sites and trained them on international data collection protocol and encourage them on their own publications.

With her team she have already published three manuscripts on international journals and presented poster in international conferences. Additionally, they have submitted one more this month pointing out the critical habitats in the Levantine Sea, with an emphasis of offshore waters of Cyprus. This last publication actually hold information gathered from CETAZOOM that highlights the importance of data sharing between each stakeholders, starting from fishermen.

Temur Shvelidze, Assistant Researcher at Institute of Ecology, Ilia State University shared with us his opinion about importance of Rufford funding:

“Georgia is located in the Caucasus region. Ilia State University has been conducted dolphin survey in the south-eastern part of the Black Sea since 2014. The survey was granted by only Kolkheti national park foundation. Due to we have marine protected areas there is obligatory to monitor dolphin abundance in that area and also along the entire coast. This foundation has stopped granted survey in 2017. It is very hard to get foundation in conservation work via local grants. Actually there are only several local foundations who periodically change their targets of giving money. So, The Rufford Foundation gave us a big opportunity to pursue dolphin survey in 2017- 2018. Besides, it was a first attempt of conservation actions of dolphins in Georgia. After 4 year survey data there was an urgent need of conservation of black sea dolphins especially harbour porpoises and bottlenose dolphins. Harbour porpoises are isolated population from Atlantic ones. We are happy to work with The Rufford Foundation and we have future plans with them. Our project has encouraged other research institutes and young researchers to apply for Rufford grants. “

Dr Branko Anđić from University of Montenegro, explain to us that protection of mosses in Montenegro is at a very uneven level. Prior to the projects supported by Rufford, no project was concerned with the protection of mosses in Montenegro. Thus, the significance of these projects is very important to draw public attention to the protection of mosses and the protection of species that are globally or regionally endangered.

The entire material collected during the work on the projects is stored in the herbasar collection of the University of Montenegro, with the aim to be further used in the education of Biology students. Also, the first box with mosses in the Botanical Garden in Kolasin was set up with the aim of educating the wider public that visited the garden.

“I consider that the greatest contribution of these projects is the registration of new types of moss for Montenegro and Albania because the results of the research have made a significant contribution to the knowledge of the flora of the breeding. Also very important influence is the installation of information boards that have attracted visitors to get information about mosses.

Projects have helped educate future generations through several phases:

1. They are allowed to use herbasis.

2. Young people can inform informally when visiting the Botanical Gardens where they are installed with moss information boards.

3. Students and students received information materials in the form of brochures with information on the importance of moss.

4. During the lecture, young students learned in an interesting way about mosses.

During this Moss protection project data are published in international journal which are on SCI or Scopus list, in international conference for moss protection and conference on national level. Also the interesting data are published in national newspaper, in aim the information a Montenegrin society.”

Jasmin Pašić, from Center for Environment, Bosnia and Herzegovina apply and have got his Rufford grant because the conservation status of bats in B&H is unknown.
“State government does not enforce any specific legislation for protection of bats and their habitats. Bats are listed in the “Red List of Protected Fauna” but without conservation or vulnerability assessment. Recently some organisations voluntarily provided national reports to EUROBATS, which is recognized as one of the few activities in this field. So far, efforts spent to promote signature of the treaty by B&H government were unsuccessful. Projects, like this one supported by The Rufford Foundation, can be used in scientific purposes, but also for capacity building and as a promotion of importance and protection of bat fauna in B&H.”

Ilija Ćetković, from Montenegrin Ecologists Society, found The Rufford Foundation’s grants as a very good tool for shark’s promotion and protection, as his conservation work is based on them. Previously, there were no shark dedicated research, neither conservation activities in Montenegro.

“The Rufford Foundation has recognized the Blue shark conservation problem within our waters, as a critically endangered species in the Mediterranean and then continued to support protection of other pelagic sharks that are in the same situation. Grants have ensured production of first educational material, first lectures for community and finally first research actions on sharks. Due to these grants, Montenegrin wider community has got first positive interaction with Adriatic shark species that is not based on their killing, unnecessary fear and similar. National media have published documentaries and articles on their conservation need and these endangered species have gained first real and positive promotion in Montenegro. Scientific data will be published in Croatian journal “Acta Adriatica”, where the paper is on the review currently.

Beside the conservation of sharks, The Rufford Foundation has provided improvement of knowledge and fieldwork practices of biology students as the early conservationists and local fishermen interested in nature protection. Even small fundraising for any kind of nature protection is very difficult from national sources, particularly for sharks as “dangerous” species. Montenegro doesn’t have enough funds for such activities, neither professional capacities. The Rufford Foundation funding has provided capacity building of early career biologists and conservationists that have got a chance to join such projects. For me personally, these grants are of great significance because they gave me a chance to implement real research and conservation, which my faculty and country resources couldn’t provide. I started as a volunteer on a RSG project about karst viper protection during studies and there I learned about conservation and got an idea and necessary help to develop my own projects.”

MSc Dragana Šnjegota, Faculty of Sciences, University of Banja Luka, think that The Rufford Foundation is an excellent and very friendly organization which put enormous efforts for supporting the implementation of small conservation projects in developing countries with the aim to protect the biodiversity of specific territory. The Foundation has very conscious requirements from all projects and focused on endlessly important categories and aspects of the world flora and fauna.

“Projects which my team conduct are of extreme importance for conservation of wolves in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Rufford Foundation has a huge significance in our attempts to protect wolves at the mentioned territory, but along with that, other species in wolves' area as well. The financial support of this Foundation is very significant, and without it we wouldn’t be able to perform any of our field activities. Our activities include field and genetic monitoring of grey wolf at the specific territories in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and only by combining these activities we are in possibility to observe the condition of wolves' population. Our further aim is to enlarge the territory of our activities, through further projects, and our final aim is collection and production of data, necessary for creating of conservation management plan for wolves at the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

The Rufford Foundation has supported her activities through 2 RSG's and 1 Booster Grant:

1. Monitoring of grey wolf population from Bosnia and Herzegovina with the aim to create conservation strategy – RSG 1 - 2015

2. The Grey Wolf Conservation in Bosnia & Herzegovina: The Next Step – RSG 2 - 2016

3. Let's make better future for grey wolves in Bosnia and Herzegovina: continuation of conservation activities - Booster Grant - 2018,

The papers produced during collaboration between Dragana and The Rufford Foundation are:

 Šnjegota, D., Stefanović, M. Grey Wolf in Bosnia and Herzegovina - Conservation Activities Conducted within the Rufford Small Grants programme. Abstract book from 27th Rufford Conference “From Mountains to Deep Seas: Research & Conservation Beyond Boundaries” February 3-6, Bar, Montenegro, p.33.

 Šnjegota, D., Stefanović, M., Veličković, N., Ćirović, D., Đan, M. Genetic characterization of grey wolves (Canis lupus L. 1758) from Bosnia and Herzegovina: implications for conservation. Conserv Genet (2017).

 Šnjegota D., 2016. Grey Wolf in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Book of Abstracts from Rufford Conference in Bosnia and Herzegovina “Nature knows no boundaries”, March 21-22, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, p.60.

 Šnjegota, D., Đan, M., Veličković, N., Stefanović, M., Trbojević, I., & Ćirović, D. 2016. GENETIC VARIABILITY AND POPULATION STRUCTURE OF GREY WOLF (Canis lupus) FROM BOSNIA&HERZEGOVINA. Balkan Journal of Wildlife Research, 3(1), 7- 11.

Assoc. Prof. Rigers Bakiu, from Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Agricultural University of Tirana said that in Albania, it is very difficult to obtain funds from the Government or Public Institutions for species conservation, due to high level of corruption and disproportions, but international organizations and foundations like The Rufford Foundation is one of those, which has helped him a lot on his work for conservation of species and for improving fisheries management and the coastal communities life quality. He have implemented a project about the conservation of Monk Seal and he hope to have another grant from Rufford in order to go further with conservation of this species in Albanian coasts. He did education and practical training of groups of young people for using and monitoring monk seal and also training of the young student from University of Vlore and Agricultural University of Tirana, involved fishermen. Also what was very important is creation of an alliance entitled “Protect the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus)". And a paper that was published: Caterina, Stamouli & Akel, El & Azzurro, Ernesto & Bakiu, Rigers & Baş, Aylin & Bitar, Ghazi & Boyacı, Yunus & Cakalli, M & Corsini-Foka, Maria & Crocetta, Fabio & Dragičević, Branko & Jakov, Dulčić & Durucan, Furkan & El Zrelli, Radhouan & Erguden, Deniz & Filiz, Halit & Giardina, Fabio & Giovos, Ioannis & Gonulal, Onur & Zenetos, Argyro. (2017). New Mediterranean Biodiversity Records (December 2017). Mediterranean Marine Science. 18. 534-556.

Dr Miloš Popović, Research Assistant at University of Niš, said that because in Serbia is a lack of knowledge on distribution and even on presence of certain taxa, the nature conservation is only starting to emerge as an idea among younger generations.

“As an example, just a few years ago we had no knowledge on presence of the scarce large blue butterfly in Serbia. Now, we know a lot about this butterfly population and work closely with the managers of the protected areas to conserve this species. The work is both practical (management plan), educational (working with kids) and scientific (one PhD was published on the subject). Rufford Small Grants programme enabled us to gather not only data about certain butterfly species, but also to make a solid team of butterfly experts working in the field and promoting butterflies both in public and online. Mailing lists, Facebook groups, forum, biodiversity databases, nothing of this would be possible without The Rufford Foundation.

With Rufford support a field guide of Serbian butterflies was made, followed by several scientific publications, one PhD and two online databases. The Alciphron database of Serbian insect has about 250.1data, while the new Biologer has just started to collect data on butterflies, reptiles and amphibians.”

For the MSc Vernes Zagora, from Montenegrin Ecologists Society, The Rufford Foundation was the biggest factor in his early career development. As a young and ambitious student, guided by the advice of his older colleagues, he recognized the importance of Karst viper (Vipera ursinii macrops) and with the help of Rufford Small Grant programme he started a career of a conservation biologist who dealt with both research work and advocacy policies that will influence the legal protection these endangered species as well as protection on the field.

“By collecting the much-needed information about this endangered viper, we filled out the largest number of gaps in the distribution map of this species and provided the basis for its protection and further continuation of concrete research steps that would contribute to the adequate protection of Karst viper. Through projects funded by The Rufford Foundation it was created an extremely high-quality group of biologists interested in the protection of both this species and alpine meadows as fragile but crucial ecosystems for the survival of many endangered and endemic species.

In addition to the biologists with experience, these projects actively included students, who later continued their activities in the field of conservation biology.”

Tijana Čubrić, PhD Student at University of Niš, The Rufford Foundation enabled to do her PhD thesis. In Serbia, there is a complete lack of financial support for PhD students and therefore without The Rufford Foundation she could not be able to start her PhD thesis.

“The Rufford grant enabled me to grow my knowledge about conservation efforts through work with local communities where I learned a lot, particularly about approach methods regarding work with local farmers towards protection of the nose-horned viper. Population structure and dynamics of this species, generally important for conservation actions, is not well known in Serbia. Therefore, my work on nose-horned viper is crucial for its future active conservation. Conservation activities could not be possible without the RSG.”

Her opinion is that in general, it is much easier to raise money for the charismatic mammal species where snakes (especially venomous) are not favoured among financiers. But, nose-horned viper is heavily harvested, the number of its habitats is polluted and fragmented and the species therefore needs conservation. Having in mind that this species may have important role in tropical web in ecosystems as it feeds on wide spectrum of prey, it means that it also could be a regulatory factor for local populations of its prey species. Also, in semi-degraded habitats it could be one of the very few predators what means important role in local trophic webs. All these facts emphasize importance of further monitoring of the nose-horned viper populations and education of the local communities.

In the case of nose-horned viper there were none published population and ecological data so far. Her first Rufford grant enabled her to collect basic data about demography and habitat for the first time, and in the systematically way. Moreover, it enabled to design monitoring plan for this species in Serbia which we have started in the second grant. Further, as Tijana said, first grant enabled identification of main threats and therefore defining how to react in response to them, seek for solution and monitor their effect and future change. All our field work was done systematically and in a standardized, transparent way with methods that are easily applicable in any part of this viper’s range. Therefore, it is very easy to merge our work with that of conservation biologists from other countries, in order to strengthen conservation activities in a largescale projects. Also, we have collected data about main threats and presented them to the authorities in Serbia to change the conservation status of the nose-horned viper. Very important impact is education activities which we have done in the field, as the main threat to this snake are local farmers. Therefore, our continuous interaction with them represents the most powerful conservation impact in the case of this species. Main aspect in conserving the species prosecuted by humans is integrating scientific research with local community involvement. Direct interaction in order to gather information about local perception of snakes, misunderstanding, concerns and approach in solving this threat are learned by experience and therefore the Rufford project enabled both me and my team to develop those important skills for this and any other future conservation project.

She have published one paper in the international peer-review journal Herpetology Notes and have presented results of their first project at the international 5th Biology of the Vipers Conference which was held in Morocco. Project results have been sent to the Institute for the nature protection in Serbia and they were also presented at state universities in Serbia.

Nataša Nikpaljević, from Natural History Association of Montenegro (DPCG), The Rufford Foundation has enabled resources for Montenegro Dolphin Project in March 2017. As Nataša said this resources helped her a lot, not only to start her career as a biologist, besides that, it helped her to start investigating about marine mammals in Montenegro in aim to protect those species, because marine mammals have a main role in marine ecosystem and protecting them we protect the Adriatic sea. It helped her to organize field work and to use proper equipment to collect data about dolphin species and that's why she is really thankful to The Rufford Foundation because they made that her idea become reality. Also, Nataša with her team wrote and published Annual report where we presented results which we had. She will continue with this kind of research and conservation efforts trying to involve as much people to gain more knowledge and better results about marine mammal’s species in Montenegrin waters.

To MSc Ana Ćurić from Herpetological Association in Bosnia and Hercegovina “Atra" RSG's has been recommended as a first and great chance for realizing her research ideas as a student in process of learning and developing as a biologist.

“It was a great motivation for my work and keeping enthusiasm in all good and bad stages of the first year of studying the most secretive frog in Bosnia and Herzegovina and wide, European common spadefoot toad. My motivation started after suggestions and realizing that the species has not been confirmed for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the species southern distribution areal is along Sava River. Just by species ecology and distribution, the small idea of just confirming the species presence in Bosnia and gathering distribution, ecological and morphometric data has grown into new ideas of biological researches, gathering ecological data, education, collecting all necessary data for habitat and species conservation and for future evaluation through red lists and red books of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is of great importance for global population which is declining by today's data. Rufford has helped me with my self-education and has been support since 2014 when I've started with my first grant.”

By today, she have presented her work on four conferences and published one paper, while other two are in preparation:

 Ćurić, A. (2018): Conservation of complex aquatic and terrestrial habitats preferred by extreme onthogenetic shapeshifter, European common spadefoot toad -Pelobates fuscus (Laurenti, 1768). 27th Rufford Conference "From Mountains to Deep Seas", 3 - 6 February, 2018, Bar, Montenegro, pp. 38.

 Ćurić, A., Zimić, A., Bogdanović, T., Jelić, D. (2017): New data and distribution of common spadefoot toad Pelobates fuscus (Laurenti, 1768) (Anura: Pelobatidae) in Western Balkans. North-Western Journal of Zoology (2017): e171504

 Ćurić, A. (2017): European common spadefoot toad Pelobates fuscus (Laurenti, 1768) in Bosnia and Herzegovina - First RSG project results and further research progress. The Rufford Foundation Mediterranean Conference in Turkey, 15th - 16th May, 2017, Koycegiz, Turkey, pp. 44.

 Ćurić, A. (2016): The PARADOX of metamorphosis in European common spadefoot toad Pelobates fuscus in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Nature knows no boundaries. Rufford Conference in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 21st – 22nd March, 2016, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, pp. 50.

 Ćurić, A., Zimić, A., Jelić, D. (2015): New data and distribution of common spadefoot toad Pelobates fuscus (Laurenti, 1768) in Western Balkans. 1st Balkan Herpetological Symposium within the 12th Croatian Biological Congress, 18th - 23rd September, 2015, Sv. Martin na Muri, Book of Abstract, pp. 68.

Dr Igor Trbojević from University of Banja Luka who did research about Brown bears at Bosnia and Herzegovina and Tijana Trbojević from Independent University of Banja Luka who did research about Eurasian lynx have explained to us how is necessary to do more research and more conservation measures in order to protect this two charismatic and in danger species because of big pressure of hunting and other negative factors. Brown bears are protected by a closed season, but inaccurate counting, lack of data on death, abundance, damages, absence of Bear Management Plan, show that it is not properly managing with this species. Also, an accurate conservation and management action has to be urgently taken for Brown Bears, which has a strong tool on the protection of entire terrestrial fauna.

Tijana's project „Distribution of Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx L., 1758) in Bosnia and Herzegovina“ is designed for the great need for knowledge about the species of Lynx lynx in B&H (spatial ecology of lynx).

“The aim of this part of the project is to find out the new distribution, abundance and factors which affecting on ecology of lynx (quality of habitat, poaching and species management) in B&H by interviewing all hunting and forestry organizations who have (or had) lynx in their hunting grounds. The greatest risk for lynx habitat was defined as construction of infrastructure (roads, wood processing infrastructure and buildings), forest cutting, mines, and lack of natural prey.”

For MSc Ana Vujović, president of Natural History Association of Montenegro (DPCG) Rufford played an important role. Because of this, two grants, she raised her team members, spread her knowledge educating a lot of children and students. Because of this important step she made collaborations with institutions and NGOs.

For the turtles/tortoises in Montenegro she couldn’t got a funds especially for field research, so Rufford give her that chance. During the work at the field she gained a valuable data and have got better picture what is going on with her species, and what is necessary to do in order to make Montenegro better place for their living.

3. Recommendations

For researchers and conservationist of natural heritage, it is necessary to cooperate as much as possible, so every one of participants saw the power of this kind of meetings. It refreshes our ideas, our mind and way of thinking. The Conference was successful and very important for biologists, ecologists and conservationists who need support. However it was also realized that data sharing platforms need to be encouraged more strongly to increase the accuracy of research and to increase the outcome of conservation strategies.

We recommend RSG's to colleagues who are really interested in making a change in positive way in nature and who have great knowledge in the field that The Rufford Foundation support.

We promote Rufford Conference via all social media and at national television


42° 6' 14.9616" N, 19° 5' 43.782" E
File DownloadSize
Montenegro Conference 201813.45 MB