Thursday, 7 October 2021

Scientists Record Distressed Female Lošinj Dolphin Mourning Loss of Calf

October 7, 2021 -  A female Lošinj dolphin mourning the loss of her offspring saw scientists visibly heartbroken and showed once again that animals have feelings which run just as deep as our own.

The clear and beautiful waters of the Croatian Adriatic bring a lot of joy and relaxation to people from all over the world, either by jumping and swimming in the soft waters in the hot summer months or by simply observing and breathing in the healthy air either from deck or land on less sunny days.

However, like any other place, the Adriatic can be a place of tragedy and sad scenes, whether for humans or animals that call this Mediterranean ''alley'' their home. The waters surrounding beautiful Lošinj island was sadly the location of a sad tale.

As was reported on Wednesday by Croatian RadioTelevision (HRT), the Blue World Institute from the small town of Veli Lošinj, recorded a female Lošinj dolphin mourning the  tragicloss of her calf. The calf sadly died and the mother used her nose to keep the baby on the surface of the sea, swimming with the deceased calf for hours.

This recording of dolphins in the Croatian Adriatic acting this way showcased just how much love, empathy, and emotions they possess.

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''These are the first recorded cases even though the research here has been being conducted for over 35 years,'' said Tihana Vučur Blazinić from the Blue World Institute for HRT.

The touching scenes disrupted scientific procedures which decided to only record the incident and not take the calf's body to try to determine the precise cause of death of the unfortunate baby dolphin.

However, since they saw these touching scenes in person, it's hard to blame them for not removing the corpse from the female Lošinj dolphin who was visibly distressed, especially when other dolphins joined the mourning mother.

''At one moment, you had a feeling as they were swimming so close, as if to hug and comfort her, like they're supporting her in these difficult times. The mother, however, regardless of other adults animals approaching, didn't want to leave her baby,'' they told HRT from the Blue World Institute.

With the stork Klepetan mourning the death of his love Malena, the heart-breaking grief of this female Lošinj dolphin is proof that animals have very deep emotions and are much more like humans than we might think. These sad scenes offer another argument that should warn the public that the preservation of biodiversity is a must.

For more about animals in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Mediterranean Monk Seal Supposedly Sighted After 10 Years Near Pag

October 7, 2021 - The last time a Mediterranean monk seal was seen in Croatian waters was in 2011, near Proboj. In the past, the species was hunted vilely, and therefore its small population and the rarity of its sighting. Ten years later, fishermen have once again seen one swimming in the waters of Pag.

A Mediterranean monk seal was spotted in the waters of the island of Pag, writes Morski.hr. According to the information of several fishermen, the Mediterranean monk seal was seen in the Pag Gate at the junction of the Pag Bay and the Velebit Channel, and in the area of ​​Punta sv. Nicholas.

As Radio Pag reminds us, the Mediterranean monk seal on the island of Pag was researched more than 30 years ago by prof.dr.sc. Hrvoje Gomerčić from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb, who stated in his paper on this research that two Mediterranean monk seals had a habitat near the Pag Bridge.

During the research, Professor Gomerčić stated that as early as the beginning of the 1990s, this pair of Mediterranean monk seals were no longer seen in their habitat. The Mediterranean monk seal was seen again on Pag in 2008 near Dinjiška, and in 2011 near Proboj, and now ten years later it has been seen in the waters of Pag.

It is assumed that these are Mediterranean monk seals that came to Pag from another area, but there are also opinions that they may live permanently in the waters of Pag. The answer to this question, however, should be given by experts.

The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) lives on reefs, in caves and grottoes, in isolated and hard-to-reach rocky areas. There is enough of all this on the shores of the island of Pag and that is why scientists believe that Pag is an ideal area for the life of the Mediterranean monk seal.

Although it was a resident of the Adriatic, it is known that in 1964 the last specimen of the Mediterranean monk seal that lived in the Croatian part of the Adriatic was killed. This species was exterminated in the Adriatic mainly by fishermen and fishing tools, so it did not exist for decades. It reappeared in the early 2000s, and the last one seen in the northern Adriatic, in 2014, died of old age. Since then, there have been no members of its species in the Croatian sea, just as there were none before it.

The Mediterranean monk seal is protected by the Nature Protection Act, and according to the Ordinance on the amount of compensation for damage caused by illegal actions on protected animal species, the fine for killing a Mediterranean monk seal is 100,000 kuna. The Mediterranean monk seal is one of the most endangered marine mammals and probably the rarest seal in the world.

Source: Jutarnji List

For more information about the Mediterranean monk seal, check its profile at the Blue World Institute website.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 4 October 2021

The Storkman Movie: Origins of Famous Malena The Stork Online

October 4, 2021 - The Storkman Movie is a documentary about rescuing the famous Croatian stork called Malena, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

Croatian and international animal lovers were sad due to the tragic loss earlier in July of 2021when the beloved stork Malena (a Croatian word that can be roughly be translated as little one when talking to/about a female) passed away.

As many already know, Malena was the stork Guillette to Klepetan, a male stork who would always return to her in the Slavonian village of Brodski Varoš, located not too far from Slavonski Brod.

The love birds filled Croatian and global news outlets for nineteen years and it all started with Brodski Varoš resident Stjepan Vokić. He found Malena in 1993. Her wing had been shot through, and Vokić rescued her. Vokić's nurturing saved her life, but Malena couldn't fly anymore and, unlike many storks flying south every year, had to stay in the village forever. This makes Klepetan's return every year after the two first met in 2002 all the more interesting, showing animals have both love and loyalty humans could learn a lot from.

So much so, it inspired a documentary film produced in 2020 and titled ''The Storkman''.

''The story of a retired and widowed man from Slavonski Brod amazed many, kept our hearts warm and returned a feeling of hope that man and nature still have sympathy for each other and that the love between humans and animals can withstand even the biggest obstacles in their way,'' reads the movie description on Culturenet.

The director of the film is Tomislav Jelinčić, whom the Croatian audience know best as a journalist, editor, and TV host at RTL television.

The movie premiered in Croatian cinemas back in May 2021, but now you can also watch it online with English subtitles on Vimeo on demand.

Taking the focus away from solely being about Malena and Klepetan's love story, the film promises to reveal more about the nurturing of Malena herself.

Storks are beloved guests at Lonjsko Polje. Learn more on our TC page

For more about animals in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Injured Turtle in Korčula Bay: Rescued, Treated, Ready For New Life

July 17, 2021 -  An injured turtle in Korčula Bay sparked immediate action by locals and vets, seeing the turtle being saved and getting a second chance.

Like many other places, towns, locations, and neighborhoods, Korčula also has groups on social media to ease communication among users who share the same place of daily life. Friday afternoon saw residents of Korčula have a big heart, and despite might being stereotypically perceived as laid back, chilled chaps (as for every Mediterranian-culture impacted people), they were quick to act when needed.

A user under the name Antoni Ja, one of the members of the FB group Oglasnik otoka Korčule (Korčula Island Message Board), reported on a 20 kilo turtle floating in the sea in Žrnovska Banja. Floating, the keyword.

„Please do something, so it doesn't get hit by a speedboat or some maniac“, said Antoni Ja.

Other users immediately started to worry if the turtle was injured, and the name of a local vet Vilović was suggested as an address to report the issue.

Sure enough, Vilović examined the turtle, and the 20-kilo turtle turned out to be over 50 kilos. Not quite often seen in shallow waters, but nevertheless a normal turtle size in the Adriatic sea.

„It had a head wound, most likely from the propeller. It is on its way to the Specialist in Split by catamaran“, briefly commented Vilović.

Indeed, as the photo on the FB group published by Ana Jurić shows, the turtle was on its way to Split.

„Kudos to the vet and the guys that organized all this, and the turtle is huge!“ wrote Jurić.

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Zrnovska Banja where the turtle was spotted floating © Visit Korcula

Dr. Mario Gavranović, head of the VET VISION clinic in Split, confirmed that the turtle arrived on Friday night.  „It should arrive in an hour or two. The propeller injury is an old wound and I will first have to examine it to see what is the proper way of treatment“, said Dr. Gavranović.

When contacted on Saturday morning to provide more information on what happened to the turtle, dr. Gavranović wasn't in his office. As confirmed by Aquarium Pula, the reason was Gavranović took the turtle to the aquarium which also has a Marine turtles rescue centre.

"The turtle is alright, on its way and should be in the Centre around midday", briefly confirmed Aquairum Pula.

Pula's rescue centre has been active for around 17 years (with turtles being strictly protected in Croatia since 1995 as one of the most endangered animal species), and Morski.hr wrote in 2019 how the centre cured over 100 turtles. 

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One of the many rescued turtles by Marine turtles rescue centre © Aquarium Pula

Croatia loves its animals

With vets displaying their expertise, locals on Korčula once again demonstrated their compassion and big heart when it comes to animals. And that compassion is not different from the general mood in Croatia.

With the nourishing of the recently deceased stork Malena being the most famous story of love between Croatians and animals, there were plenty of other examples too. From rejoicing every time whales or dolphins are spotted, when sheep visited the Zadar mall or when a Croatian reality TV star Jasmin Kunišinac raised a fox.

Unfortunately, Croatia also records cases of animal cruelty, such as the poisoning of cats and dogs, and each time Croatian public met it with a fierce backlash and anger for such acts.

Despite quite often arguing about everything imaginable and unimaginable, Croatians also express solidarity with each other when things get tough. For instance, many cities canceled their new year celebrations and relocated the money to Petrinja following its earthquake, as well as Croatian entrepreneurs too. But, many more instances of help were noted over the years.

Learn more about Korčula on our TC page.

For more about animals in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Malena Passed Away: Croatia Mourns End of Klepetan and Malena Stork Love Story

July 7, 2021 - Croatia is sad to learn of the passing of beloved Malena, thus ending the heartwarming love story of the most famous storks in Croatia - Klepetan and Malena.

Nineteen years of stork romance between Malena and Klepetan in the Slavonian village of Brodski Varoš (near Slavonski Brod), has sadly come to a tragic end. As Index.hr reports, Malena passed away after failing to eat for eleven days.

''I tried to feed her but it didn't work,'' said Stjepan Vokić, a former janitor who found Malena 28 years ago. The year was 1993, and Malena was injured (her wing had been shot) so Vokić rescued her, and the two spent time together, awaiting the arrival of spring. As Malena couldn't travel due to her injured wing, she could only rely on Vokić to help her through tough winter months, and she kept him company.

In 2002, another important man (well, actually a male stork), Klepetan, showed up in her life, and the couple gave life to 66 small storks. Their love was challenged with Klepetan, doing what storks do, fleeing to Africa every autumn. However, Malena waited for him, and he couldn't forget her either, and their occasional long-distance romance indeed grew into true love and not just a summer fling.

''I noticed she wasn't well on June 9. It was just when the heatwave started. She wanted to go after Klepetan, but she couldn't. She fell down, and I brought her inside. She didn't want to eat nor did she want to drink any water. It was as if she wanted to end her life because falling down is a humiliation for storks, I'd say,'' Vokić said to Večernji List, adding that she passed away peacefully, closing her eyes while on the lap of one of Vokić's friends and dying.

The romance of Klepetan and Malena was followed globally, and many Croatians mourned when the news broke out. Naturally, nobody took it harder than Klepetan.

''He comes every evening. I tell him, 'she's gone now, Klepo'. I buried her in her favourite place where she always waited for him,'' said Vokić.

He added that he would wait for Klepetan and welcome him to his place if he decides to return next year.

 

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Stjepan Vokić who rescued and took care of Malena, screenshot / Jelena Osijek OS

The 19-year romance of Klepetan and Malena couldn't have gone unnoticed for us here at TCN.

Klepetan returned every year (sooner or later), and in 2019, many feared that the love story had concluded with Klepetan's death.

"Four of them (birds) came and began making some very sad noises. I knew then that Klepo had gone, he had died. You know how they say that birds die singing," Vokić sadly said in 2019.

However, it was, fortunately, a false alarm, as Klepetan returned in 2020.

At least Malena's love story, while challenging, was much happier than the famous literary tragedy, as she was happily in love and the 66 kids of Malena and Klepetan raise the stork count in Croatia, adding to Croatia's bird population and general biodiversity.

Storks are beloved guests at Lonjsko Polje. Learn more on our TC page

For more about animals in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Zagreb Crows Attack and Injure Number of People - Warning Issued

June the 6th, 2021 - Zagreb crows usually keep themselves to themselves, rummaging around looking for food or getting into sometimes comical altercations with local pigeons. These highly intelligent birds tend to avoid people, but when they're nesting, they're known for their potential for aggression. An official warning has been issued from the City of Zagreb following numerous crow attacks on humans.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, The City of Zagreb has issued a statement about crow attacks on humans, stating that they have been seen an increasing number of reports about it.

Due to the increased number of reports from people about "attacks" from Zagreb crows on humans, the City Office of Agriculture and Forestry notes that these birds only become aggressive towards people and other animals in exceptional situations such as when their young in the nest are endangered or when they have accidentally dropped out of their nests. The birds then become aggressive so as to try to protect their offspring, they write.

“This is the natural behaviour of animals, so we advise people to avoid the location of the nests for a day or two until the birds fly out of the nest. In a situation when a fallen bird is found, you shouldn't approach the location, but it should be reported to the Dumovec Animal Shelter by calling: 01 / 2008-354 or by e-mailing: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ", They announced.

"The reason for the settlement and nesting of crows in cities is a safe and constant source of food, so we'd like to appeal at every opportunity to people and tenants in locations where Zagreb crows are active, that the environment around their houses is kept clean and that they don't throw food waste on the floor, and that kitchen waste is disposed of in designated areas. Zagreb crows are treated according to the Game Protection Programme, and in accordance with Article 9 of the Hunting Act (Official Gazette 99/18, 32/19 and 32/20),'' reads the part of the announcement on the website of the City of Zagreb.

One woman even broke her leg when trying to find off an attack by an agitated crow.

Several crow attacks have been reported over recent days, and some of these attacks have resulted in serious injuries. Mirna Grcevic broke her leg as a result of being attacked by the birds.

"It kept pecking me on the head while I was on foot and didn't give up. I was just riding my bike, and I fell onto my knees and broke my leg,'' she described for Dnevnik Nova TV.

In the last week there have been four reports of traumas after crow attacks.

"All four people are female, younger people, one minor, a knee fracture, a spinal cord injury, a wrist injury, an ankle sprain," said Stipe Corluka, a specialist in orthopedics and traumatology.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Youth for Stray Dogs Project in Zadar Ongoing from May 12 to 18

May 17, 2021 - 21 youths from Croatia, Greece, and Serbia are now in Zadar, Croatia for a week of helping stray dogs. Youth for Stray Dogs is a long-term project aiming to develop a solution for the rampant stray dog problem. Join them at their public event tomorrow, May 18, 2021, at the Zadar Sea Organ from 10:30 am onwards. 

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Youth for Stray Dogs on a day of helping Privlaka animal shelter | Photo credit: Udrugra Prizma 

  

Udruga Prizma from Gračac in line with the Erasmus + program of the European Union gathered 21 youths from three European countries (Croatia, Greece, and Serbia) with the highest numbers of stray dog population to come up with a long-term solution to lessen, if not totally eradicate, the problem. 

The group believes that human behaviour is the most important factor in determining the stray dogs’ population dynamics and that the best and the most effective way to help homeless animals is to raise awareness in the community by educating them on how to be responsible dog owners and to give knowledge and assistance to people who are interested in learning how to become one.

Udruga Prizma said that the main objectives of this project are to promote responsible ownership through the encouragement of communities about greater dog responsibility for future and current owners, to raise awareness for animal rights and adoptions, to increase human’s positive attitude toward all sentient beings and to entice the youth in actively helping the community through practical activities.

To do that, Youth for Stray Dogs will conduct group reflections and discussions about current animal rights, visit dog shelters, conduct an interview with a dog trainer and organise local activities to engage the community in increasing empathy for all animals.

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Photo credit: Luana Matošević

 

Below is the itinerary for Youth for Stray Dogs provided by Luana Matošević, one of the project coordinators:

May 15, 2021 (Saturday) - visit the Sklonište za źivotinje Privlaka (animal shelter) to help and take the dogs out for a walk

May 16, 2021 (Sunday) - atelier workshop to create beds for dogs by reusing abandoned tires they have recently collected from the Musapstan forest

May 17, 2021 (Monday) - a symposium about dog behaviour and animal first-aid to be conducted by a veterinary student from Greece

May 18, 2021 - CULMINATION DAY: Youth for Stray Dogs will hold a public event at Zadar sea organ from 10:30am to promote the project. They will be giving out informative brochures about everything you need to know to lessen the existing stray problem, and raise funds and food to be donated to Privlaka animal shelter.

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Photo credit: Luana Matošević

 

This is the first part of the youth exchange program. The second part of the project will be taking place in Greece, in the city of Lamia, in September this year should the epidemiological situation allow. The first part conducted in Zadar, Croatia focuses on the animals that stay in local shelters; however, in Greece - where there is a much larger population of stray animals - the focus would be to build food and water stations and to settle agreements with the local community to improve the situation.

To know more about Udruga Prizma and their ongoing and future projects and events, CLICK HERE.

For more news about events in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more news about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 2 April 2021

Porec Swans: Croatia As a Year-Round Residence for These Lovely Creatures

April 2, 2021 – This winter, Porec got two new discreet white tenants, a pair of swans, often seen in Peškera Bay. Due to the great interest, experts from the Porec Center for Invasive Species bring interesting facts about these wonderful, protected birds – Porec swans.

Written by: dr.sc. Barbara Sladonja, dr.sc. Danijela Poljuha, and mag.oecol. Mirela Uzelac.

Faithful couples

This pair of swans belong to the species of red-billed swans (lat. Cygnus olor). In English, they are called "mute swans" or silent swans because they are the quietest of all swan species.

The mute swan is one of the largest birds that can fly. They feed primarily on underwater vegetation, grass, algae, and the like and sometimes eat smaller fish and insects. You can feed them with pieces of bread or cereals such as wheat or corn. They catch food by diving into the water with the front of the body and the neck outstretched while the body's back protrudes into the air. They eat up to 3-4 kilograms of food a day!

They usually live in pairs their whole lives. Because of their faithful love and their necks that they can bend in the shape of a heart, they have become a symbol of love and fidelity, and an inspiration for many art and literature works.

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Pixabay

Where did they come from and why?

Swans are migratory birds, which means that they migrate from the nesting area (northern areas) to the wintering area (southern areas) and back every autumn. They fly in a flock. Sometimes, due to fatigue, the couples stand out and decide to spend the winter on the shores of warmer seas. They fly at speeds of up to 90 km/h and cross 1000 km to the nesting site.

Swans are spread in almost whole of Europe. Their number has increased in the last 50 years, and their area of residence and nesting has expanded. From just an occasional winter resort, Croatia and the Mediterranean have become their year-round residence.

Therefore, they spend the winter in Croatia more and more often. Since the early '90s, they have been nesting here. You can usually see them on inland lakes and in isolated places along the Adriatic coast. They inhabit areas of calm and slow freshwater, such as ponds, lakes, and swamps. You can also see them in brackish lagoons, salty bays, and on quiet shores. They are becoming more common in cities as well.

Our pair of swans chose Poreč because of the pleasant climate, beautiful city, and maybe the heart-shaped symbol on the Peškera Bay, which was a lure for our gorgeous tenants.

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Easter decorations on the Peškera Bay in Poreč / The City of Poreč - Parenzo

Will they stay in Porec permanently?

Swans came to Poreč to spend the winter, and whether they will stay depends on whether they decide to nest here. If they choose to do so, the couple builds a nest together and keeps the birds. During that period, the male can be aggressive to protect the family. They nest from March to August near water, in shallow water, in aquatic habitats with reeds, cattail, or other aquatic vegetation, and sometimes in protected bays. There are not many such isolated habitats in Poreč, so they may decide to leave us, at least until next autumn.

And one more thing – although we are sure that we will all be hospitable and restrained towards them, let's not forget that the mute swan is a protected species in Croatia. Therefore, any intentional harassment, nest damage, egg destruction, injury, and similar actions can be punished.

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Romulić & Stojčić

Source: Poreč.hr

To read more about Poreč, check the Total Croatia article Poreč in a page.

Friday, 5 March 2021

VIDEO: Drone Reveals Super Close Encounter Beneath Zadar Whale Chasers

March 5, 2021 – Two locals look fragile and exposed against the gigantic secrets of the sea beneath them as newly revealed drone footage shows a super close encounter for Zadar whale chasers

Upon hearing a whale had strayed in the Karin Sea, Igor Goić and Sandra Župan, decided to set off to try and get a closer look. They became Zadar whale chasers for the day. On 4 March 2021, Croatian media Vecernji List described the pair as great lovers of travel and exploration of natural beauty.

A couple of months ago, the Zadar whale chasers travelled to the bay, some 30 kilometres from the city, to try and catch a glimpse of the sizeable mammal. Two days ago, they published a drone video from the day which made them realise only now that the whale was much closer to them than they thought.


Zadar whale chasers spoke to the media

“Last year, on October 10th we followed a fin whale that got sidetracked in Karin bay. We thought that the closest he got near us was around 5-6m. Today, by checking some footage from the drone we found this,” they wrote on Instagram.

The Zadar whale chasers' drone footage was transferred to processing software, which sharpens the contrast and "fixed" the colours a bit. This allowed the pair to find out they were much closer to the whale than they previously thought. In fact, he passes directly beneath the Zadar whale chasers boat.

“When you are in a kayak, low above the (water) surface, you do not see anything from the empty glare,” said Zadar whale chasers cameraman and director Igor Goić to Morski.hr “and as we tested with the paddle, the visibility was maybe up to 2 meters (when you dip the whole paddle you can't see the other end).

Goić explained to the media that not only had the fixed footage revealed the surprise and previously unknown passage of the animal beneath them. There is also another shot where it comes alongside the Zadar whale chasers kayak and then turns on its side for a minute so it can watch them. Getting up close to nature is one thing, but when your kayak is dwarfed by such an amazing creature of the sea, perhaps some nearness is too close for comfort.

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Monday, 8 February 2021

Dinaric Karst Caves World's Richest In Species, 70% Indigenous To Croatia

February 8, 2021 – The Dinaric karst caves found intermittently down the length of the country's coast are the richest in the world when it comes to species that live within them. Many of them are extremely rare, with 70% of them being indigenous exclusively to Croatia

Dinaric karst caves are one of the best-kept secrets of Dalmatia. While the majestic Dinaric Alps are an ever-present backdrop within holiday photos taken on the Croatian coast, the Dinaric karst caves and cave systems that can be found intermittently running through them remain little known, explored only by a handful of expert speleologists and biologists. And, that is how it should remain, because they are teeming with very rare species.

croatia-4754109_1920_1.jpgA cave in the Dinaric Alps in Dalmatia

Croatia's Dinaric karst caves are the richest in the world when it comes to species that live within them. Many of the creatures that live in Dinaric karst caves are extremely rare, with 70% of them being indigenous exclusively to Croatia.

Having evolved over millenia to life in the darkened environs of Dinaric karst caves, the animals that inhabit this subterranean ground once lived above-ground and were much more common. The tough, lightless conditions of Dinaric karst caves meant that only those who were strong enough to adapt would survive, developing new features or losing others in response to their habitat.

Recently featured in TCN because it is up for 'Mollusc of the Year', the rare Congeria Kusceri is a classic example of how Dinaric karst caves have changed in response to their environment. The mollusc lost its pigmentation and any sense of sight due to having a lifetime bereft of sunlight.

congols.jpgCongeria kusceri © Vedran Jalžić

According to a recent article published by National Park Krka, who themselves have many rare species and Dinaric karst caves, other classic characteristics of the evolutionary process on Dinaric karst caves species include a thinning of the integument (the protective outer layer, shell or skin), lengthening of body parts, slow metabolism, life longevity, low reproduction, accumulation of fat reserves, reduced aggression, cessation of day-night rhythm, cessation of seasonal changes and activities, and changes in brain structure.

186 Dinaric karst caves species have been endangered according to the endangerment criteria of the International Organization for Nature Protection (IUCN). One of the biggest threats is the pollution of their underground habitats. Therefore, some of caves have been recognised at a national and at an EU-level as being natural habitats of special interest and marked as off-limits. About 400 speleological objects are listed under Caves and pits closed to the public (code 8310) and 220 under Overflowing or partially flooded sea caves (code 8330).

But, for those interested in discovering the hidden network of Dinaric karst caves within Croatia, there are many which are accessible and open to the public. Official guides and several speleology associations are available to reveal these secret subterranean lairs. What you see inside might be just as spectacular as how these mountains look in the background of your holiday snaps.

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The Ulysses cave on Mljet island, one of the many caves in Croatia which is accessible to the public © TZ Mljet

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