It took veterinarians at the orthopedics clinic of Zagreb Veterinarian Faculty almost 10 hours to clean, fill and reconstruct the teeth of Martina, a cute, young Croatian lynx. The first procedure of its kind in Croatia, the surgery went well and the feline's fangs are ready again for action.
The lynx had first been spotted in a village near Ogulin around November and it was obvious she was a cub that had lost her mother. The Ministry for Environmental Protection and Energy intervened immediately. With the help of local hunters, they captured the lynx and found that she was malnourished, weighing only six kilograms. She was quickly moved to special confinement in Risnjak National Park where she was taken care of by experts from Zagreb zoo. By February, Martina had gained 13 kilograms but she still wasn't able to return to the wild as her teeth were broken.
Following the groundbreaking dentistry, Martina, who was named after St. Martin's day, was assessed and the surgery deemed a great success. She was released back into the wild some three weeks ago but remains monitored by a neck tag and a camera. Experts have already seen that the rare cat is capturing small rodents, birds and other animals. They reckon it will take her a bit more time to start tackling bigger meals but are confident she will transition properly when the time comes, considering her young age.
Croatia has only between 40 and 60 lynx living in the wild. Following a severe decline in numbers, some areas of the country have been partially repopulated with this indigenous species using cats from Slovakia and Romania. Part of the LIFE Lynx project, this partial reintroduction helps to protect Croatia's finely balanced ecosystem.