Achievements to date

Velebit Mountains became active as a rewilding area in late 2012

Thanks to a generous grant from Adessium Foundation Velebit in 2014, we could build further on the work in the Velebit Mountains.

Eurasian brown bear in the Velebit mountains, Croatia

Eurasian brown bear in the Velebit mountains, Croatia
Staffan Widstrand / Rewilding Europe



  • A 3-year plan was developed that describes all the activities and results we are planning to achieve until 2017. A dedicated ‘Rewilding Velebit’ entity was established, while a communication officer and a rewilding officer were added to the Rewilding Velebit team.
  • A lot of time was invested in establishing and further strengthening working relationships with key stakeholders in Croatia. Important meetings were held with a number of authorities about Rewilding Velebit, such as the Ministry of Agriculture, in particular the heads of the Hunting and Forestry Departments, the State Institute for Nature Protection, the Ministry of the Environment and Nature Protection, the directors of Paklenica and North Velebit National Parks and the Velebit Nature Park. We presented and discussed our vision, plans and objectives for the area and explored further cooperation with these institutions.
  • By December 2014, we nearly completed a lengthy process to purchase the majority of the shares in a newly established company (Lagosta d.o.o.) which owns a 17 000 hectare hunting concession. This will be a very relevant and significant development for our work in Velebit. Some important developments also took place relating to natural grazing and the Tauros breeding.


  • 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 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 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.
  • Further work was carried out to complete the negotiations for securing a 17 000 ha large hunting concession in the heart of the rewilding area including three offshore islands, called the Lagosta concession. The final steps are underway to open up the way for the signing of a final agreement and to start the rewilding and enterprise work in this area.
  • In April 2014, the 30 wild living Bosnian mountain horses in the natural grazing project in the Malo Libinje area gained company from a herd of 11 Boskarins. These are primitive Croatian cattle (5 cows, 5 heifers and 2 calves) that were brought into the area to mark  the start of the Tauros breeding project in Velebit. By the end of 2014, the herd of Boskarin cows in Malo Libinje had 18 individuals. In September, two Sayaguesa bulls were added to the herd, as well as five Bosnian mountain horses.
  • A European Wildlife Bank contract has been signed with two families holding grazing rights in Licko Polje, in Lika Plains. This is a huge plain (some 53 000 hectares) of abandoned grasslands that is part of the Natura 2000 network. Thanks to the agreement, at the end of November a herd of 22 Sayaguesa cattle were brought from Spain, starting a second Tauros breeding site in Velebit.


Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch

Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch

  • The Velebit Mountains now champion REC with six loans provided in support of rewilding enterprises in the area. After Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch, Guslice & Melnice Honey, the third loan was provided to ‘Mons Baebius’ Mountain Cottage to advertise through a new website, and the fourth loan was provided to Camp Ljubica (Wild Kingdoms). The latter is a low-cost campsite for high quality nature and wildlife focused products.
  • A fifth and sixth REC are both linked to Lagosta: for the limited company, to start up the management and development of the area, and a loan for setting up a Rewilding Flycamp – a mobile tented camp, fully serviced and used for wild camping, run by local entrepreneurs.
  • A business plan for Lagosta has been developed that will come into effect as part of the signed agreement. This will include wildlife restocking, creation of wildlife breeding zones, increasing wildlife densities and promoting wildlife watching.
  • A limited company has been 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.


  • 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 Rewilding Velebit Facebook page has already more than 800 likes.
  • Several factsheets (Tauros, Wild horses, ERN, REC, EWB and Bison) have been translated to Croatian and produced in hard copies.

  • At the end of 2014, an attitude survey took place in the area, investigating the response of local people and stakeholders towards rewilding in general, and Rewilding Velebit in particular.
  • In September 2013, a team from BBC World Service made a visit to the area and showcased it on TV, radio and web for millions of viewers, as an example of the wildlife comeback and the opportunities within rewilding.