Historic moments of our species conservation program


This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Hungarian Meadow Viper Conservation Centre – a unique facility not only in Hungary but all over Europe -, where the breeding of this endangered species has begun in 2004. As a result of the cooperation and hard work of conservationists over two decades, the number of released Hungarian meadow vipers exceeded 1000 in May. This year, two new sites expanded the range of habitats of the vipers.

Until the 1980s, the Hungarian meadow viper occurred around the lake Fertő, but intensive use of the remaining grasslands was not tolerated by the species. However, conservation management over the past three years has recreated the preconditions for the release of this unique snakes. In May 49 Hungarian meadow vipers were released in this strictly protected area.

The other new release site is in the Ócsa Landscape Protection Area of the Duna-Ipoly National Park, where 50 vipers were released at the end of May. The new habitat, a Natura2000 protected grassland grazed by buffalos, is fenced to exclude wild boars and mammalian predator. One of these snakes is equipped with a radio-transmitter and regular monitoring will give a better picture of the animal’s activity and habitat use. The success of the reintroduction and the survival of the animals will be monitored during regular visits in the following years.