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Achievements to date

In September 2013, a team from BBC World Service made a visit to the area and showcased it in TV, radio and web for millions of viewers, as an example of the wildlife comeback and the opportunities within rewilding.

Eurasian brown bear, Ursus arctos, at wildlife watching place, North Velebit National Park, Velebit Nature Park, Rewilding Europe rewilding area, Velebit mountains, Croatia

Staffan Widstrand / Rewilding Europe

 

General

•    There are several really promising rewilding and business opportunities emerging here, which are planned to bear the first fruit in 2014.

Rewilding

•    Advocacy for rewilding at government level has generated genuine interest, but it takes time to consolidate (f ex revisions in the hunting legislation are postponed by parliament).

Prize winning bee keeper Sanjin Zarkovic at his bee farm in Melnice, Honey bees, Apis mellifera, Velebit Nature Park, Rewilding Europe rewilding area, Velebit mountains, Croatia

Staffan Widstrand / Rewilding Europe

•    Negotiations initiated with several potential sources of Balkan chamois (Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia), for re-stocking this subspecies into the Velebit mountains.

•    An archaeo-zoological study to try to find out the historical presence of large wild mammals has been completed, proving the existence of ibex and other species interesting for re-introductions. A feasibility study of the reintroduction of the Ibex is under development, to be delivered in 2014.

•    A freshwater study has been completed, proving the importance of natural water resources for natural wildlife densities in the area (availability of summer water is a key limiting factor).

•     A breeding site for wild horses and for Tauros has been selected.

•    A commissioned study on the ecological role of the bark beetle has been completed, emphasising the importance of the species as a key natural process in the area, opening up, diversifying and regenerating parts of the forest.

Enterprise


•      The first micro-loans from Rewilding Europe Capital have been awarded to local businesses with a rewilding component.
•     One of the two first loans under Rewilding Europe Capital was to Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch in Velebit. The loan was provided to expand and refurbish the existing ranch accommodation and services. The loan also includes an annual rewilding levy in support of rewilding activities in Velebit.
•     A limited company is being set up to be able to sign commercial and other agreements with different local stakeholders for rewilding and enterprise activities.
•    Strong support has been expressed from the Ministry of Tourism to develop wildlife watching as a key economic activity in the Velebit area.
•    An inventory of existing local businesses has been carried out, which has identified a number of enterprises for potential further development.
•    Following a rewilding seminar in the village of Krasno (November 2012), strong enterprise related linkages established with local administration and land user groups.

Communication

•       A Dutch journalist reported from Velebit in a series of newspapers in November 2013, reaching about  a million readers in countries like The Netherlands, Belgium and Croatia.
•    A photo mission was successfully completed, providing a wide selection of top quality imagery for PR and information.
•     A Rewilding Velebit facebook page has been started up.