Dušan Jelić

  • Project name: Creating a conservation research plan for the olm, Proteus anguinus, in Croatia
  • Project site: Throughout Croatia
  • EDGE species: Olm Proteus anguinus
  • Active: 2011 - ongoing


Dušan is committed to the research and conservation of Croatia’s wildlife. Having conducted research on cave dwelling animals, his EDGE Fellowship was a natural next step to allow him to gather vital information on the elusive and poorly understood underground amphibian, the olm.

Dušan’s fellowship has started a long-term conservation project for Croatia’s karst (subterranean limestone cave) habitats, using the olm as an umbrella species, and he is now recognised as one of the specialist experts in this unique habitat. In 2017 Dusan became one of the first EDGE Affiliates.

EDGE Project

Dušan’s Fellowship aimed to develop a conservation research plan for the olm in Croatia. His objectives were to:

  • Conduct population studies at three sites which will contribute to the National Management and Action Plan;
  • Develop a pioneering technique for assessing olm population genetics;
  • Enhance public awareness through workshops, information leaflets and the development of a volunteer programme.


  • Discovered the largest known single population of olm in Croatia. During a single dive of the cave’s 80m length Dušan observed a remarkable 200 olms;
  • Led a series of educational workshops that increased awareness of the olm’s significance among cave divers, and led to divers reporting a newly discovered population of olms which may represent a recently defined new species;
  • Featured in the BBC Natural World Special Attenborough’s Ark.

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