A population of meadow vipers, thought extinct, confirmed after 61 years

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On 25 April 1962, N. Roman immortalised with his camera a Hungarian meadow viper. The literature later referred to the locality as Boncida and Sic, in Cluj county. Although some have argued that the photograph does not constitute sufficient evidence, modest efforts have been made to find the species, but with no results whatsoever.

This changed 61 years, 5 months and 9 days after the first sighting, when we organized the first expedition in search of the species in Transilvania. 3 October 2023 is the date when we managed to confirm the presence of Hungarian meadow viper in the vicinity of Bonțida (Cluj county).

The expedition was organised between 2 and 8 October, and during the seven days, 24 participants ticked off 71 days of searching. It is extremely important to mention that we were also supported in our search by the canine viper search unit of the Kiskunság National Park. Edvárd Mizsei, coordinator of the EU LIFE project for the conservation of meadow vipers and his German shepherd Tomi also participated in the search, so we can add five days in which we were supported by the canine team. During the expedition, were visited eight historical sites or locations that constitute suitable habitats for these vipers.

At present, the Hungarian meadow viper is known from eight habitats, from the heights of Cluj Napoca to the grasslands near Mihalț (Alba County).

Once again, we would like to thank all participants for joining us in this activity. At the same time, we would like to thank the Kiskunság National Park Directorate for their uninterrupted support of our viper conservation activities.

We would like to organize this expedition in the coming years. If you would like to participate, please contact us.

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