With official start in January 2012, the Velebit rewilding area is now up and running, seeking opportunities to significantly enhance the local chamois population. All three parks in the area – Northern Velebit National Park, Paklenica National Park, and Velebit Nature Park – see this as a priority. Suitable source populations for restocking exist in various parts of the Balkans (e.g. Montenegro, Serbia, and Bulgaria).
Croatian Forests, a state owned company for forest and woodland management, has given the green light to wildlife watching in a hunting area with good numbers of brown bear, red deer, and wolf in Northern Velebit – to be followed later by a second pilot further south. In the selected areas, hunting will cease and forest management change (e.g. creation of harvest free buffers around the wildlife watching facility). Regular visitors will be redirected to alternative areas. In addition to wildlife watching from hides, wildlife tracking will also be offered.
The new government of Croatia recently initiated a reformation of conservation, forestry, hunting, and veterinary legislation; the changes are important for the rewilding efforts. The local rewilding area takes active part in providing feedback on the new bills, as these will set the ground-rules for future work in Velebit.