I went for a walk along the old hiking trail towards Modrić. Walking along the periphery of the main pasture and into a part of the trail that was thick with wildflowers and grasses until I could no longer see the trail.
Malo Libinje is a rugged, stony part of the Velebit Mountains in Croatia, that borders the Paklenica National Park and overlooks the sea. It is also the home of the Knežević family. I was there to observe the behaviour of the Istrian Boškarin cattle that they received earlier this year through Rewilding Europe. The Knežević family kindly and graciously accepted me as a guest from America.
“A spirited one!”, I said when Bruce asked me what kind of horse I wanted to ride. We were having a bush dinner around a nice camp fire, enjoying the pork, salad, potatoes and local herbs, with locally brewed wine, some delicious walnut liquor and beers. “Then Storm Cloud it is”.
Recently taken photos and videos confirm that the Mediterranean monk seal is sensationally making a comeback in Croatia. The scientists still don’t know the exact number of individuals, but the “Mediterranean Monk Seal Group” has collected over 4,500 photos and video clips proving that the Adriatic is again a permanent habitat for these critically endangered mammals.
The enterprise component of Rewilding Europe is all about the people we are working with to create rewilding enterprises in our rewilding areas. In order for rewilding to succeed, it has to bring benefits for the people who live in those areas. If local people feel the benefits this pleases politicians – and this means a more favourable political climate for rewilding.
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).
„Look at how the bark beetle influences the spruce forests – the affected trees appear as small islands in the larger forest landscape”. Tea Silic, biologist at the Northern Velebit National Park, shows us around in the park in preparation for the start-up of one of Rewilding Europe’s field projects.