In the heart of Croatia’s stunning Velebit Mountains, a new way of managing wildlife is revitalising local economies and wild nature.
At the second European Rewilding Network webinar for its members, on July 8, there was an exchange of first hand experiences and inspirational stories from several rewilding sites about novel ways of building rewilding partnerships with hunting interests.
Albania announced recently a ban of all hunting for two years to protect animals threatened with extinction. Minister of Environment Lefter Koka said the ban was necessary to protect species whose numbers had fallen dramatically after two decades of rampant hunting. According to the Ministry, brown bears and eagles are now seriously endangered even in the mountainous areas of Albania. The number of pheasants and wild quail have also fallen dramatically.
A regional wolf hunting ban was recently decided in eastern Slovakia, covering one of the rewilding areas: the Poloniny National Park and the Eastern Carpathians Landscape Park, also called the “Wolf Mountains”. This is the first positive step in the restoration and protection of the wolf population in the Carpathians.
The Mitsubishi 4WD is helter-skeltering around some awful potholes as we are rushing downhill towards the village of Mehadia. “If you could make a wish, what would that be?” I ask Gogu as the frontlights flash at large beech and elm along the forest road.
With the economic value of wildlife as its special focus, a seminar called ”LARGE 2012” was held at the Museum of Modern Arts in Stockholm, Sweden on January 31, organised by the Swedish Ecotourism Association together with the ”Big Five” national large carnivore information center.
Even before reaching the hide in the Stramba Valley we see the first bears – a female with two cubs. They run up a small hill into the beech forest, hardly aware our presence. Under the guidance of a local forester we climb the stairs to the wooden hide and looking outside the window we see another female with three cubs feeding on the remains of a dead cow.