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Saving Vipera ursinii rakosiensis – Project results

Until ‘50s in Romania a single V.u.r population was known, located in “Fanatele Clujului” reserve, close to Cluj-Napoca city. Further, this population had disappeared. It was considered an extinct species until 2002 when members of Romanian Herpetology Society succeeded to discover a new population of meadow vipers in Transylvania, in Alba county. The purpose of the project “Saving Vipera ursinii rakosiensis in Transylvania” was to prevent a new extinction of this species through passing the habitat ownership from locals (mostly farmers) to Romanian Herpetology Society, ecologic reconstruction of habitat and ensuring legal protection of the area by designating it Natura 2000 site and also, scientific reserve.

The activities and the results / outputs are:

A1 Visit in Hungary – in 2006, followed by several visitis of Hungarian colleagues; resulted in a collaboration protocol and support in making decisions on conservation actions;

A2 Rangers training – 3 trained rangers

A3 V.u.r inventorying – annual field monitoring (170 monitoring days); 4 annual reports + 1 consolidated 2006 – 2009; 131 vipers observed, weighted, DNA and bacteria tested; viable population of 1,600 vipers;

A4 Protected area management plan – plan for Natura 2000 site RO SCI 0187 “pajistile lui Suciu”

A5 V.u.r Action plan – 1 action plan focused on Vipera ursinii rakosiensis, considering the CoE Action Plan;

A6 Scientific Reserve proposal – submitted to MoE in 2008, updated in May 2009, reply still pending with MoE;

A7 Natura 2000 site proposal – Natura 2000 site RO SCI 0187 “Pajistile lui Suciu” designated according to Ministry Order 776 / 2007;

B1 Land lease – 43 ha in 2005, 32 ha in 2006;

B2 Land acquisition – 46.94 ha in SRH property, including conservation clause;

C1 Rangers house – settled at project location, info boards attached;

C2 Hedge plantation – abandoned due to unpredictable side effects might generate on vipers;

D1 Rangers patrol – ensured in 2005 and 2006 by a local guardian, by SRH team in rest;

D2 Habitat reconstruction – stopping agriculture works, allowing controlled grazing, forbidding mowing and limiting access to water sources for cows and roars;

E1 Official opening – done along with E 7, only for Natura 2000 site as no official decision is yet made for the scientific reserve;

E2 Public awareness – info & dissemination for local and central authorities, EPA Alba and REPA Sibiu, experts and scientists, local communities;

E3 Project website – in place at

E4 publications – 200 project posters; 9000 flyers (vipers’ killing-3,000); various types of vipers in Europe-3,000); protected habitats-3,000), available electronic content for project presentation CDs, 1,000 education kits (1 handbook + 2 brochures each kit), 2 large boards, 80 newsletters “Herpetologica Romanica”, protected area management plan (electronic version), V.u.r action plan (electronic version);

E5 Seminar with stakeholders – held in January 2010, attended by 70 inhabitants and local entrepreneurs & local authorities;

E7 Workshop on V.u.r – held in March 2007, attended by 37 scientific researchers, both from Romania and EU member states;

E8 Education activities – carried in 8 schools, for approx 200 children aged 6 – 15, in Hoparta, Bagau, Beta, Ciuguzel, Lopadea Noua si Cluj-Napoca.

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    View more presentations from vasibin.