Rewilding Europe
 

Achievements to date

General

  • Velebit made a lot of progress during the year, very much due to efforts of our local partner WWF in Croatia, to create a positive relation with the Croatian government, but also due to a very active, respected and practically minded rewilding officer on the ground.
  • There are some really interesting rewilding and business opportunities emerging in this area, which will hopefully bear fruit in 2013. Changes of critical policies related to rewilding, as well as changes of positions in government complicated the project from time to time.
  • Major fundraising efforts have been made for an outdoor exhibition in Zadar in 2013.

Rewilding

  • Lobbying and advocacy at government level for rewilding has generated genuine interest, however due to changes in government composition and policies, has been difficult to consolidate (e.g. revisions in hunting legislation are postponed by parliament).
  • A study on the ecological role of the bark beetle was completed, emphasising the importance of the species in opening up forests as a key natural process in the area.
  • Overview of existing hunting concessions (19) has identified opportunities for creating large wildlife recovery zones; negotiations have started with several concessionaires.
  • Negotiations with potential sources of Balkan chamois (Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia) initiated, for re-stocking in the Velebit area.
  • Archaeozoological study on the historical presence of larger mammals completed, proving the existence of ibex and other species interesting for re-introductions.
  • Freshwater study completed, proving the importance of water resources for establishing natural wildlife densities in the area (availability of water is a key limiting factor).

Enterprise

  • Strong support generated from Ministry of Tourism to develop wildlife watching as a key economic activity in the Velebit area.
  • Inventory of existing local businesses carried out, which has identified a number of potential enterprises for further development.
  • Following a rewilding seminar in Krasno, strong enterprise related linkages established with local administration and land user groups.

Communication

  • Fundraising campaign for WWE outdoor exhibition in Zadar (2013) asking contributions from more than 20 corporates and organisations.
  • Local stakeholders committed to support rewilding after a very successful seminar in Krasno in November, in the middle of the Velebit Nature Park.
  • Photo mission successfully completed with high quality imagery available.