Saturday, 2 April 2022

Aquarium Pula Receives Friend of the Sea Sustainability Certificate

April 2, 2022 - Aquarium Pula, the largest aquarium in Croatia, has just received the Friend of the Sea Sustainability Certificate for its outstanding efforts to preserve the sea.

To be a certified Friend of the Sea, aquariums must not only meet strict sustainable policies, waste management, and social responsibility but also commit to displaying comprehensive scientific information related to each species housed, offering annual educational courses for their visitors. The certificate also ensures that aquariums meet the highest animal welfare standards and prevent mammals from being trapped unless notable exceptions are made.

Aquarium Pula is located in a 130-year-old Austro-Hungarian building with a beautiful view of the historic port of Pula, conveniently set to experience the beauty of the sea fully. Today, the former fortress abounds in the marine world, which is mainly found in the Adriatic Sea, Croatian lakes and rivers, but also in seas around the world.

Aquarium Pula started as a private family venture by biologist Dr. Milena Mičić in 2000 and has grown into the largest aquarium in Croatia.

"The aquarium boasts one of the most diverse displays of Mediterranean life in Europe and numerous tropical exhibits displayed on an area of ​​more than 3,000 m2," said Dr. Milena Mičić, director of Aquarium Pula.

Dr. Milena Mičić started the aquarium with marine conservation based on basic activities, which today is widely known for its high-quality water experience, but also intensive research and environmental education. Aquarium Pula places a strong emphasis on educational tourism by organizing a series of activities and workshops to raise awareness of the many threats facing the ocean and the preservation of biology.

Aquarium Pula has received a lot of positive media attention due to its involvement in numerous ongoing conservation programs. The most important are: the Sea Turtle Rescue Center and the Noble Armor Sanctuary, both recognized by the Croatian Government.

Since 2001, Aquarium Pula has saved, rehabilitated, and returned more than 180 sea turtles. It was jointly praised in cooperation with the Croatian government and other partners (national parks, universities, public bodies, NGOs) for the preservation of Pinna Nobilis, a shell that is critically endangered after one of the most ruthless pathogenic disasters that brought the shell to the brink of extinction.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

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.


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 wrote in 2019 how the centre cured over 100 turtles. 


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.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Aquarium Pula to Return Six Turtles to Sea

Good news for six sea turtles as they get ready re-begin their lives back in the deep blue of the Adriatic!

Friday, 23 February 2018

Aquarium Pula Expanding to Welcome New Residents

Two caimans will soon be moving into the revamped aquarium, joining other tenants such as sharks and stingrays