Tailing the Balkan Lynx - Level 4 Level 4

A research trip to Montenegro for adults and families (children over the age of 15 years old) to learn more about the Balkan lynx and other wildlife (...) Further Details

Tailing the Balkan Lynx - Level 4 Level 4

A research trip to Montenegro for adults and families (children over the age of 15 years old) to learn more about the Balkan lynx and other wildlife (...) Further Details

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The stay

In Search of the Balkan Lynx in Montenegro

An expedition to the Prokletije National Park and the Hajla Mountains to discover more about the area’s exceptional wildlife.

Come and join us as we set up an animal tracking protocol in the newest of Montenegro’s national parks.

This expedition is set to be the most thrilling trip of the year to Montenegro. Accompanied by an international team of experts in flora and fauna, we are going to explore the Prokletije National Park and the remote mountains of Hajla. We may be lucky enough to spot animals such as Balkan wolves, jackals, bears, roe deer, chamois, badgers and maybe even the elusive Balkan lynx. We cordially invite you to join us on this unique scientific expedition. If you love adventure, wildlife, hiking and nature, then this is the expedition for you!

Expedition Description

The expedition is organized in partnership with Montenegro Eco Adventures, a local agency specializing in responsible and sustainable tourism.
L’expédition est organisée en partenariat avec Montenegro Eco Adventures, agence locale spécialisée dans les séjours responsables et durables.

During these 10 days, you will have the opportunity to examine the Montenegrin Mountains for signs of wildlife, to learn how to implement a tracking protocol in accordance the relevant scientific guidelines and to really get in touch with nature. You can hike to your heart’s content in the magnificent mountains whilst discovering the culture of Montenegro, enjoying the unrivaled hospitality of its people and sampling the local cuisine.


There are only 9 spots available on this interactive scientific adventure. To be selected, you must have a keen interest in nature conservation, be in good physical shape (4 to 6 hours hiking per day at an altitude of 600m+) and, lastly, you should feel comfortable being in the wilderness and staying in simple mountain accommodation.



Duration: 10 days

Dates: Two trips per year

- 1st to 10th June 2017

- 7th to 16th September 2017

Group size: 6 min - 9 max

Accommodation: shepherds’ huts (katuns), wooden bungalows, mid-range hotels

Languages: Montenegrin, English and French

Included in the price

All accommodation as described above
All breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks
All transfers made by car, bus, taxi and 4-wheel drive vehicles throughout the course of the expedition (including transfers to and from Podgorica Airport)
Certified mountain guide that specializes in the Hajla Mountains and the Prokletije National Park (English and Montenegrin-speaking)
Certified wildlife and mountain specialist (English and French-speaking)
All scientific equipment needed for the study (camera traps, GPS devices, sampling equipment, etc.)
Entrance to to the Park
Accident insurance (mandatory in Montenegro)

Not included in the price

International flights to and from Podgorica
Airport tax
Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
Personal expenses (souvenirs, laundry, etc.)

The research project

The Balkan lynx is a subspecies of the Eurasian lynx. It is classified as “critically endangered” on the IUCN Red List. It was thought that the Balkan lynx had died out in the 1990s but, around the year 2000, researchers provided proof that a number of specimens still existed. Today, around fifty mature individuals inhabit the territory surrounding the Dinaric Alps. Created in 2009, the main focus of the Prokletije National Park is on protecting its ecosystem but, due to a current lack of resources, the park has neither the technical means nor the staff numbers to properly undertake inventories of its flora and fauna. For this reason, Montenegro Eco Adventures and Objectif Scientifique International have decided to team up and combine their knowledge and skills so that they may carry out this important work on behalf of the Park.

The team will be tasked with installing camera traps in the most suitable locations and searching for as many indications of the presence of animals (feces, hairs and pawprints) as you can find so that we can make the database as comprehensive as possible. For us, the use of camera traps to monitor wildlife is the most effective method as it is the least invasive and it also keeps interference with the animals and their habitat to a minimum.

You will learn about the following concepts during this expedition: the scientific protocol for tracking animal, transects, camera traps, how to recognize fecal matter, pawprints, wildlife tracking, orientation, map reading, routing, geography, geology and history. The following equipment will be used during the trip: camera traps, GPS, sampling equipment, pawprint molds, computer, binoculars, radio (walkie-talkie), hiking maps, etc.

All data collected during the expedition will be documented in a database that will be shared with the Prokletije National Park and the Department of Sustainable Development. In addition to pooling knowledge and date with our partner, the Prokletije National Park, we are also collaborating with several other foundations and NGOs involved in nature conservation. Our objective is to aid in the surveillance of wildlife in Montenegro in order to protect it.

Concepts Learned during the Camp

Ethology, Animal tracking, scientific protocols, transects, camera traps, feces, pawprints, tracks, orientation, map reading, route mapping, geography, geology and history.

Equipment Used

Motion Sensitive Cameras, GPS, sampling equipment, tubes, tape measure for prints, computer, binoculars, radio (walkie-talkie), hiking maps ...

The location

This trip takes place in Montenegro (Black Mountain) in the Balkan Peninsula. A small country of 650,000 inhabitants and covering 13,000km², it is bordered by the Adriatic Sea, Bosnia, Croatia, Albania, Kosovo and Serbia. Its capital is Podrogica.

Official language: Montenegrin

Currency: Euro

The Prokletije National Park (16,600 hectares), which was opened in 2009, will be our home for this trip A mountain park situated at an altitude of between 1,000m and 2,600m, this limestone massif marks the border between Albania and Kosovo. Rich in wildlife (bears, wolves, lynxes, wild boars, chamois, birds, etc.) and flora, the park will provide us with the perfect setting to carry our a wildlife survey.

Mount Hajla, in the north-east of the country, stands at more than 2,400m high. Located on the boarder with Kosovo, it is home to a rich array of wildlife and yet remains somewhat uncharted territory as it is relatively unknown amongst ramblers.

Day to day proceedings

Each day spent in the park will be spent exploring the environment and carrying out the scientific survey (looking for clues and setting up camera traps). You will become a fully-fledged researcher in the scientific team.

Care will have to be taken when setting up the camera traps so that we may obtain the best results and create a comprehensive wildlife database.
Des pièges photos seront à poser à bon escient afin d’avoir les meilleurs résultats et de mettre en place une base de données faunistique.

The typical day will begin with breakfast in the katun from 7:00am to 8:00am before we set off for the day with a picnic prepared by the in-house staff. We will return at the end of the afternoon when you will have some free time for R&R. The evenings will either be spent debating scientific issues, taking part in astronomy sessions, weather-dependent of course, or engaged in another activity of the campers’ choosing.

The team

The trip will be led by an OSI scientific educator and a mountain guide (Florian Pinchon) who will be assisted by a Montenegrin mountain guide and a guide that specializes in the Porkletije National Park and the Hajla Mountains (English speaker). The logistics of the trip will be taken care of by Montenegro Eco Adventures (Alexandra, Tamara, Nicolas et Scott), an agency based in Podgorica that specializes in ecotourism and promoting sustainable travel.


We will stay in an aparthotel in Podgorica for part of the trip and the rest will be spent in the famous “katuns” that are dotted along our route through the mountains. Whilst some of the katuns have been constructed more recently, others are former shepherds’ huts that have been lovingly restored to their former glory to welcome visitors to the park. These shepherds’ huts have all the home comforts, including beds (sheets and blankets) as well as kitchens and staff to prepare the meals.

The katuns have the added advantage of being located right in the heart of the mountainous areas we wish to study. The katuns are a Godsend because they will make it easier for us to reach these areas and will save us from having to carry tents and other equipment in our backpacks.


Day to Day Schedule

Day 1

• Arrival in Podgorica.
• Dinner in town with the rest of the group.
• Night in a mid-range hotel.

Day 2

• Visit to the market in Podgorica to buy dry fruit and nuts for the expedition.
• Depart for Prokletije National Park.
• Go for a short walk to get our bearings.
• Dinner and a night in a beautiful katun with a breathtaking view.

Day 3 to Day 5

• Following breakfast, we will spend 4 to 6 hours scouting for areas where wildlife may be found and potentially spotted, setting up and retrieving camera traps (set up on night 1) and looking for signs of wildlife.
• Free time at the end of the afternoon.
• Diner and the night in the katun.
• The evenings will be spent debating scientific issues, taking part in astronomy sessions (weather-dependent) or having free time (music, parlor games, etc.).

Day 6

• We will set off in the morning in the direction of Rožaje in the Hajla Mountains (1h30 drive).
• Brief visit to Rožaje.
• Drive up the mountain to the katun (1h30 drive through the mountains).
• A short hike in the afternoon. Dinner in a comfortable katun with a fireplace.

Day 7 and Day 8

• Following breakfast, we will spend 4 to 6 hours scouting for areas where wildlife may be found and potentially spotted, setting up and retrieving camera traps (set up on night 1) and looking for signs of wildlife.
• Dinners and nights in the katun.
• The evenings will be spent debating scientific issues, taking part in astronomy sessions (weather-dependent) or having free time (music, parlor games, etc.).

Day 9

• After breakfast, 4-hour walk.
• Return trip back down the mountain to Rožaje in the afternoon and then on to Podgorica.
• Dinner and a night in Podgorica in a mid-range hotel.

Day 10

• Final hours in the capital.

• Transfer to the airport.

Take with you

- Valid identity card or passport - No vaccines required - Currency: Euro - Language: Montenegrin, Serbo-Croatian - Same time zone as France - Climate: mountainous, influenced by the Mediterranean climate (hot and dry in the summer, possible storms and cooler nights). - Physical fitness: a good level of fitness is required for this trip. We will be walking between 4 and 6 hours per day at an altitude of up to 2,300/2,400m. - Gear and equipment: mountain clothes, walking shoes (mandatory), a backpack for the daytime with a capacity of around 30/35L. A 50/60L backpack is much better than a large travel bag or suitcase for transporting your belongings over the course of the 10 days. -For your information: Here is list of items that you may wish to take with you on your trip, http://www.vacances-scientifiques.com/A-prendre-avec-vous.html and then click on the "Montenegro" tab. [->http://montenegro-eco.com/]

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