Sunday, 1 August 2021

Stay Safe on Your Holiday: Croatian Wildlife and Marine Animals to Avoid

Aug 01, 2021 - Do not risk ruining your perfect holiday and learn about the potentially dangerous Croatian wildlife and marine animals you may encounter, albeit a small chance, during your trip to Croatia. Always remember: if it’s predictable, it’s preventable! Here’s a guide to potentially dangerous animals in Croatia, where they can be found, what to look out for, and what to do if you get attacked or bitten.

Snakes5D3A9644_1.jpg

Photo credit: Mario Romulić

There are currently 15 snake species that are known to inhabit Croatia, and only 3 of them are venomous. Two of these venomous snakes - karst meadow viper and common European adder - are generally considered harmless since their venom have low potency and do not pose a serious threat to normal and healthy humans. However, the horned viper has been linked to 4 fatal deaths in Croatia. Although these vipers exist throughout the country, they are mostly found in the coastal cities and stony mountains of Dalmatia. They can be identified by the distinctive zigzag pattern on their backs. The horned viper, locally known as poskok, has a horn on its snout where its name was derived from. Its body is usually gray, sometimes pinkish-grey, with a dark grey/black zigzag pattern from head to tail. Horned vipers are usually quiet but will attack when provoked. These snakes have also been reported to have the ability to jump at a distance of 5 feet and as high as 3 feet. On the other hand, the common European adders are mostly found on meadows and freshwater and river lowlands of the Sava, Drava, Mura and Danube. They are also found in mountainous areas such as Gorski Kotor. Meanwhile, the karst meadow vipers prefer higher altitudes so they are mostly found in the mountains of Dinara and Velebit.

What to do when you encounter a snake? Slowly back away from the creature - do not attempt to catch the snake or chase it away. It is also best to avoid tall grassy areas and if passing through one is unavoidable, wear sensible and protective footgear. Never stick your arms or legs into unknown, dark and hollow spaces or any rock, leaf and wood piles - these are snake's favourite hiding places! Lastly, always pay attention to your surroundings when climbing and hiking. For suspected snake bites, try to keep as still and calm as possible - a higher heart rate could cause the venom to spread faster. Tie a tourniquet from the bite towards the heart to delay the circulation of venom and seek medical assistance immediately!

BearsBrown_bear_1.jpgPhoto credit: By Marshmallow - https://www.flickr.com/photos/tmarschner/2728816091/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7080486

Croatia is full of forests and mountains, therefore, it makes an ideal home for the Croatian brown bear. It is highly unlikely to encounter them in established tourist attractions in Croatia but the risk goes higher around the mountainous regions of Gorski Kotar, Velebit, Lika, and even in the Biokovo and Mosor mountains of Dalmatia. Bears usually mind their own business and avoid humans, however, a mother bear with her cubs tends to attack any potential threats, even unprovoked. Nevertheless, only 3 bear attacks on humans in Croatia have been reported and all of them were non-fatal. 

To avoid accidentally encountering a bear, Ivor Kocelj, an official tour guide in Croatia suggests that during a hike, talking, listening to music, or even clapping allow bears to notice the human presence and flee in advance. If a bear is spotted from a distance and looked unprovoked, you may continue to observe it, in silence. If the bear is within close proximity, try to calm down, retreat in silence, avoid eye contact and wait for the bear to leave. Bears are attracted to food so minimize bringing food with a strong odour and store them properly. Also, never come close to a bear cub because mother bears are extremely protective. Lastly, ALWAYS follow the marked hiking trails - let the wild animals live undisturbed in their habitat!

Black Widow SpiderBlackWidow_1.jpgPhoto credit: By Camazine - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4809805

It is the most poisonous spider in Europe and is characterized by the distinctive red spots against its black back. In Croatia, they are found in the coastal areas of Istria, Dalmatia and Primorje. The spider's bite is reportedly almost painless with symptoms appearing a few hours later which can include spasms, immense pain and sometimes, paralysis. Even though the venom is poisonous, most healthy adults would not suffer any fatal effects but the children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are highly susceptible. Black widow spiders often live in bushes, under rocks and grassy areas so the reported cases of spider bites are usually from people who accidentally stepped on them while walking barefoot. Hence, it is always advisable to wear proper footwear when outdoors. For any suspected black widow spider bites, seek prompt medical assistance.

Scorpions1084px-Euscorpius_fg13_1.jpgPhoto credit: By Fritz Geller-Grimm - Vlastito djelo, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9854317

Few scorpion species are found in Croatia but the two most common species are the Euroscorpius Italicus and E. Germanus both of which are relatively harmless. Scorpions do not pose a serious threat to humans, however, a scorpion's venom may cause swelling, redness and itching around the area. The person may also experience severe pain, allergic reactions, tingling and numbness. These arachnids are mostly found in coastal, rather than continental, regions of Croatia. If stung by a scorpion, it is best to apply a cool compress on the affected area and a pain relief medication if needed. To be safe, have the bite checked by a medical professional, especially if it is on a child. Take note: scorpions are protected species in Croatia so do not kill them if you spot one!

TicksDog_tick_5148_1.jpgPhoto credit: By André Karwath aka Aka - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=131004

Ticks love wooded and grassy areas, as well as humid and warm environment - therefore, ticks can be found almost anywhere during spring and summer in Croatia. Most ticks in southern region of Croatia do not carry tick-borne illnesses. The ones who may transmit or cause infections such as Lyme disease, encephalitis and tick paralysis are active in May and June and are mostly found in forested regions of continental Croatia. To avoid getting bitten by these blood-sucking insects, it is best to wear full-length clothing and insect repellent especially during outdoor trips. If bitten and a tick is attached to your skin, grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible and pull it upward steadily using fine-tipped tweezers to safely remove the tick. Make sure not to leave any parts of the tick in your skin and clean the bite area, as well as your hands, with soap and water and rubbing alcohol. Remember to never crush a tick with your bare hands as it may transmit diseases. It is best to dispose a live tick in alcohol solution, place it in sealed container or flushing it down the toilet.

Sharks1080px-A_shortfin_mako_shark_swimming_in_an_aquarium.1_1.jpgPhoto credit: By 出羽雀台 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=107209573

With rich marine biodiversity, numerous species of sharks are found in the Adriatic waters with only two species - Mako and Great White sharks - are deemed dangerous to humans. According to Shark Attack Data, since the 1900s, there have been 11 reported fatal shark attacks in Croatia - the latest of which took place in 1974 in Omiš. The last recorded non-fatal shark attack was in 2008 near Vis Island. Nonetheless, the attacks in the Adriatic sea are extremely rare so it is still very safe for swimmers, surfers and divers.

The best way to avoid a shark attack is to take extra precautions when going to the sea. For starters, avoid swimming too far away from the coastline and do not wear bright jewellery because sharks might confuse it for a glistening fish, a.k.a, shark food. If a shark happens to be nearby, try not to panic and swim away vertically without making too much movements and noise. If a shark ends up attacking you and you are not alone, it is best to stay in a defensive position (back-to-back) to avoid surprise lunges from sharks. It is impossible to outswim a shark so your best bet is to make the shark see you as a strong and credible threat by throwing a jab at the shark's most vulnerable areas - gills, eyes and snout. Targeting these areas can cause the shark to retreat. Sharks rarely attack but when they do, it can be severely dangerous, even fatal; so the surest way to prevent shark-related incidence is to steer clear from shark-infested areas.

Sea UrchinsSea_urchin_upside_down_1.jpegPhoto credit: By Lacen - Croatia, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=248760

The presence of sea urchins is a sign of clean and unpolluted water, hence, it's no wonder that these spiky creatures are ubiquitous on the Adriatic Coast. Every tourist season, the public beaches in Croatia are often cleaned of sea urchins so most of them are found in secluded and natural beaches near the shores and around the rocks. Sea urchins are not poisonous but stepping on their spikes cause painful foot injury which can make the rest of your trip irritating and uncomfortable. Their spikes break easily and worse, they get stuck under the skin. The best way to prevent a sea urchin injury is to wear a pair of protective water shoes (warning: may trigger strong disapproval look from locals). If you accidentally stepped on a sea urchin, use tweezers to remove any spikes, although some will be too deep to be taken out. Afterwards, clean the affected area with soap and water but remember to leave it open and unbandaged. Use pain relievers if needed.

Jellyfish & Sea Anemone960px-20131206_Istanbul_018_1.jpgPhoto credit: By Mark Ahsmann - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30241025

Jellyfish are gelatinous sea creatures mostly made up of water, thus, they do not have good movement control. These creatures mostly float and are carried by sea currents so their presence is detected from time to time in the Adriatic sea. Unfortunately, when jellyfish end up in Adriatic coast, they come in huge numbers so jellyfish related injuries go up as well. However, most of the stinging incidents occur when a human accidentally brushes across a jellyfish while swimming. The jellyfish that are found in the Adriatic sea come from cnidarian family of which contain a number of species that are poisonous. The long tentacles of jellyfish are able to pierce through human tissue where their poison is transferred. Sea anemones are also found in the Adriatic shores, especially, the cylinder anemone. This type of anemone is often found in shallow waters and unlike jellyfish, sea anemones are sedentary and are attached to seabeds and rocks where humans can easily step on them.

A jellyfish and anemone sting may cause searing pain or severe burning sensation in the affected area and redness and rashes may also appear. Sometimes, the area swells and gets blistered, too. Some people have been reported to develop severe symptoms including eczema, violent itching, and darkened skin pigmentation. In very rare cases, jellyfish venom can lead to anaphylactic shock causing serious health risks. Depending on the severity of the situation, the first aid for a jellyfish sting is to wash it with salt water (freshwater can intensify the pain), and wash the injured area with vinegar or alcohol because these can block the poison from releasing further. There are also medications that reduce swelling and itching but the best treatment option is to get the injured area checked by a medical professional. 

Important note: Dead jellyfish can still sting so never touch one with bare hands!

Weever Fish Trachinus_draco_Karpathos_1.jpegPhoto credit: By Roberto Pillon - http://www.fishbase.de/photos/thumbnailssummary.php?ID=1363#, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25931842

The greater weever, locally known as pauk, is the most commonly found weever fish in the Adriatic sea. Other species from this family include starry weever, lesser weever and spotted weever, all of which are very rarely found since they prefer deeper areas and only approach the shores during mating season in winter. The greater weever poses the biggest hazard to humans because they often swim in shallow waters. The weevers have spikes on their gills and dorsal fins where their poison is located. Most incidents including greater weevers happen due to fishermen's carelessness and lack of knowledge or when a swimmer steps on the fish accidentally in the shallow waters. The venom of weever fish brings unbearable pain within 15 to 30 minutes of contact and swelling. The most common reactions to weever venom include loss of consciousness, nausea, loss of sensation in the affected area, elevated heart rate and breathing difficulties. The first aid for weever fish poisoning starts with removing the remaining spikes and disinfecting the area with clean water and soap. Afterwards, soak the area at the highest temperature one can endure for at least half an hour while being careful not to cause burns on the skin. Poison from weever fish is believed to be volatile in heat so this step is highly advisable to delay the spread of the poison until medical help arrives.

In general, the diverse and beautiful Croatian wildlife is very safe as long as you keep proper distance and safety measures from the wild animals. It is highly unlikely for you to come across these wildlife dangers, except maybe for sea urchins, but it is always best to stay alert and observe necessary precautions when travelling in unfamiliar places. Get acquainted with the list of numbers and responders in Croatia you may need to contact in case of emergency. Have a safe travel and remember, watch where you step!

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Friday, 11 June 2021

Blue Shark in Korcula Waters Spotted and Photographed

June 11, 2021 - Despite not being a very frequent occurrence, sharks have several reasons for appearing just off Croatian shores. Contrary to what many may believe, there is no reason to fear the sighting of this two-metre blue shark in Korcula, nor is it a concern to see any others, according to marine biologists.

The people of Korcula were surprised to see a two-metre shark swimming off the shores of Kneze on Korcula. The viviparous animal was photographed and, despite belonging to a species popularly feared around the world, there is no reason to be scared, as marine biologists made sure to point out. It was a blue shark, and they very rarely attack humans, reported likemetkovic.hr.

It may be easier for people to deal with sharks if they know that the probability of being attacked by them is one in 11 million.

The blue shark in Korcula fidgeted and wagged his tail as it approached the shore. Despite this not being a frequent occurrence, blue sharks have reached the shores before and, unfortunately, many people still fear an attack or hostility from them.

Morski-pas-modrulj-1024x756-1-990x731-1-blue-shark-in-korčula.jpg

Photos: Franka Oreb (video screenshots from Twitter)

''They rarely come to the shoreline, but there are a few reasons for them to swim into the shallows. One is to feed, the other to get clean from parasites. Also, it should be borne in mind that this is the time when they reproduce and get closer to the coast,'' Petar Kruzic, a marine biologist, told RTL.

Shark fins were also seen circling around on Vis last April. And while a blue shark attracted by the blood of a fish can accidentally attack, it remains very unlikely.

Kruzic explained that the modrulj (blue shark in Croatia) belongs to the more dangerous species, and it very rarely attacks humans. They are dangerous when there are more of them, in a school of about five or six individuals.

"Like this, one or two of them will usually swim quickly from a human", he adds. So there is no reason to fear the blue shark in Korcula, or any other.

About 50 species of sharks are present in the Adriatic sea, and blue sharks usually feed on plankton, fish, seabirds, and crabs.For more, follow our lifestyle section.

 

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Noble Pen Shell in Croatia: Living Specimen Found Close to Lastovo Island

May 29, 2021 – Close to Lastovo Island in the Dubrovnik archipelago, a local fisherman discovered a living specimen of the noble pen shell in Croatia. 

The title of this text would not be very interesting just a few years ago. Noble pen shells are some of the most beloved bivalves of the Croatian part of the Adriatic. They are popular with scuba divers and snorkelers because of their impressive size and beauty. Unfortunately, last year saw a massive dying-off of noble pen shells in Croatia.

It started five years ago in Spain. The mysterious disease killed off almost the entire population of noble pen shells in the Mediterranean. Tportal reports, Croatian Veterinary Institute (HVI) is researching the causes of the ecological disaster. A parasite called Haplosporidium pinnae in combination with micro bacteria is the most likely culprit. According to Zeljko Mihaljevic, pathologist and epidemiologist of HVI, this discovery is very reassuring. The Southern Adriatic seems to have lost virtually its entire population of noble pen shells. Any surviving specimens are very interesting to observe. They might have immunity that is potentially very important for the continuation of the research.

Observe and Report

He also went on to ask anyone who spots any noble pen shells in the Adriatic to check if they are alive. Simply passing your hand over the shell should make it close. It is sensitive to the commotion in the water. Any living specimen should be reported to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. Their central contact number is +385 1 3717 111.

Noble pen shell, also known as fan mussel, can be over a meter in length. They usually grow upright on sandy bottoms. It is endemic to the Mediterranean region and the biggest bivalve in the Adriatic. They are a good indicator of sea cleanliness. The Croatian government is enacting a program that aims to slowly re-establish the population of noble pen shells. It will not be an easy nor a quick process. Diving lovers in Croatia are hoping to once again enjoy the view of these darlings of the Adriatic.

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

Sunday, 16 May 2021

New Lynx Emil Arrived at Velebit Nature Park From Slovakia

May 16, 2021 - Great news for wildlife in Croatia, as the Velebit Nature Park welcomed a new lynx Emil. The wild cat came from Slovakia and thus joins nearly 40 other lynxes that inhabit the park. 

As turistickeprice.hr reports, Velebit Nature Park has become richer for one beautiful cat: Emil! The new lynx arrived from Slovakia and immediately rushed out of the transport box into the Velebit area. It's a lynx, the largest European cat, but the survival of this species in the Dinaric mountains is endangered due to inbreeding. After extinction at the beginning of the 20th century, the Dinaric lynx population was re-established in 1973 by the settlement of six animals from the Slovak Carpathians in Slovenia.

The adult male lynx was caught in the Slovak Carpathians and spent two months in quarantine to make sure he arrived in Croatia healthy and with the necessary antibodies to the rabies virus. It's out of the shipping box released on Apatišan, near Krasno. In accordance with the epidemiological measures, he was accompanied by a small number of spectators, among whom a special place was taken by students from the Elementary School Krasno.

‘‘Emil is the third lynx we are releasing in the Velebit area. Last year, in the Paklenica National Park, we released Alojzije, who established the terrain in the area of ​​the municipality of Sveti Rok, and the lynx Pina, whose fate we, unfortunately, do not know. Based on the data from the photo traps, we estimate that there are about 40 adult lynxes on Velebit, so we hope that Emil will not have any problems finding a partner’’, said the director of Velebit Nature Park, Ana Brkljačić.

All lynxes present today in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina are descendants of these six lynxes. Nearly 50 years of breeding close relatives without contact with lynx from other populations, resulted in genetic disorders and the only solution for survival was the re-import of lynx from the Carpathians. This is exactly what the international team of experts gathered in the LIFE Lynx project, co-financed by the European Commission, is doing. In the last three years, he has been to Slovenia and Croatia, both inhabited by a total of 13 lynxes from Slovakia and Romania, and the first descendants of inhabited males and local females have already been recorded, thus stopping inbreeding.

The new lynx found a new home in the Velebit Nature Park, which is just one of the 12 natural parks in Croatia, and you can learn more about them in Total Croatia's Guide to National and Natural Parks in Croatia, HERE. Now you can find Total Croatia articles in your language!

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Monday, 9 March 2020

A Rare Sight: Meet a Croatian Lynx, Walking by the Road

March 9, 2020 - The team behind the LIFE Lynx project, aiming to stabilise the population of lynx in the Alps and the Dinaric Alps, posted a video of a Croatian lynx walking near a road, which is an unusual sight as the wild cats don't really like people and are usually trying to get as far away from them as possible.

The video was taken by Alen Brkić from Gorski Kotar, and it was recorded near Sopač, a small village in Gorski Kotar, near the junction from Lujzijana towards Mrkopalj. The video is of quite high quality and quite long, so it was not difficult for the experts from the LIFE Lynx project to recognise the lynx (and they had the help from the lynx' GPS tracker which he's had on since September 2019).

They've identified the lynx as Rista, which is a punny name in Croatian, as the lynx is called ris, so the lynx in question is actually "ris Rista" in Croatian. It's not really correct to use the term "Croatian lynx", as they're free-moving animals, who don't pay any attention to international borders (and don't even seem to be bothered by the fence between Croatia and Slovenia).

The LIFE Lynx experts explain in their Facebook post that the lynx are usually solitary and territorial, but during the mating season (February - March) they become extremely active, cover large distances and enter other male's territories as they're searching for females. If you run across a lynx these days (which is not a frequent occurrence; most people will never see a live lynx even if they share the habitat) just let him or her walk away peacefully, don't try to engage them in any way, and they will usually just go confidently in the direction of their dreams.

One thing to pay attention to is to recall your dogs, as an average dog might see a lynx as a somewhat bigger cat and try and pick a fight with it, but things will probably not end well for your dog, as lynx are strong animals.

We wish Rista the best of luck in his attempts to find a female and mate, as that will be one small step in the growth of a robust population of lynx in these parts!

 

 

Find out more about the international LIFE Lynx project.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

VIDEO: Mediterranean Jellyfish Filmed Close to Lopud Near Dubrovnik

As Morski writes on the 26th of August, 2019, a Mediterranean jellyfish (Cotylorhiza tuberculata) has appeared in greater numbers in the waters around the Elafiti (Elaphite) islands in southern Dalmatia close to Dubrovnik, but this phenomenon appears to be very common and there is no need to panic about their presence.

The jellyfish is about 30 centimeres in diameter and was filmed by Vlado Odribožić when he was out with a group of tourists, sailing towards the islands of Šipan and Mljet. Although residents say they haven't seen these jellyfish in years, experts say there is no need to worry about them.

Pero Ugarković, editor of the Podvodni.hr portal, who is also an author of numerous marine-related texts, as well as also an associate of the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Split, says that these jellyfish are very easily recognised.

''There is an increase of them, it's seasonal, and it is nothing alarming,'' he pointed out briefly.

''This isn't really uncommon, it's like with any other type of organism. This happens cyclically every few years. Some species in the sea like these jellyfish are now passing through in greater numbers, so people are scared. Their migrations are transient and, other than a little fear in humans, they'll leave no other consequences,'' stated Petar Baranović, a marine biologist, fisherman and Morski columnist, who is well acquainted with the marine world because he is almost always dealing with it.

The Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries has already written about these jellyfish, which by their appearance are also often called the "fried egg jellyfish" They are about thirty centimeters in diameter, most noticeable at about one meter deep. This species usually appears in late summer, often accompanied by fish hiding under their ''hats''. For humans, they're generally harmless, but an irritating but weak reaction can occur in susceptible persons, according to the aforementioned Institute.

The species lives throughout the Mediterranean sea, they're endemic, they feed on plankton, and they're commonly found in the high seas, sometimes appearing in the Croatian Adriatic.

Basically, these are spectacular specimens of good-natured indigenous jellyfish that are simply to be enjoyed if seen.

Watch the video here:

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Monday, 26 August 2019

VIDEO: Playful Dolphins Frolic in Sea Close to Kaštela Near Split

Dolphins are by far one of the world's favourite marine animals, and managing to get close to them in the wild is something that many people only dream of. One lucky guy from Split managed to capture wild dolphins playing in the sea near Kaštela, just northwest of the City of Split.

As Morski writes on the 26th of August, 2019, one young Split resident had an unforgettable experience while swimming with his father. Namely, playful dolphins were swimming in front of the boat in the bay of Kaštela, bringing with them beautiful scenes of carefree play.

After a summer of headlines about numerous species popping up in the Croatian Adriatic, including Mako sharks, blue sharks, and even snakes who had accidentally fallen into the water from overhanging trees, the end of August is made even nicer with yet another wonderful video of the inhabitants of the Adriatic doing what they do best.

The video was uploaded to YouTube on the 24th of August, and the description states:

"Me and my dad were swimming under the Kaštela marina when we met 4 - 5 dolphins, and at one point, one separated from the others and arrived in front of our boat, Rocket and started to follow us. The video lasts about 8 minutes and I will try to show you the most interesting part, if there is interest, I might insert another piece of video,'' wrote the author of the video.

See for yourself what this unexpected and beautiful experience was like for the pair. Watch the video below:

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Monday, 1 July 2019

Fastest Animal in the World Lives on Croatian Island of Jabuka

As Morski writes on the 1st of July, 2019, this strange little island is uninhabited and volcanic. Close to the islands of Brusnik and Svetac, the Croatian island of Jabuka (which translates to Apple) was known for its falcon hunting lodge throughout history.

According to old records, hunting was conducted during autumn, more precisely in September. Back in 1603, Francis Castela said that at the foot of the island there was once a small cottage where the hunters stayed while they were spending time visited nests located out on Jabuka's sheer and daunting cliffs and rocks. He pointed out the fact that climbing on the island of Jabuka was extremely difficult, but facing fears and exposing yourself to these dangers could sometimes pay off very well.

A Portuguese man once wrote that some Venetian nobleman earned a considerable amount of wealth each and every year for selling the birds that were born, raised, and lived on Jabuka.

The Hvar Commune once wrote in favour of hunting the island's resident falcons, and the proper skill of hunting on Jabuka was probably initially brought about by the Benedictines, according to Podvodni.hr.

In 1516, four hunters (probably from the island of Vis) took a smaller boat and secretly went to Jabuka to try to capture the island's falcons and make good money from them. Upon arrival, a storm broke, easily wrecking their poorly moored boat and the four men remained on the island of Jabuka, cut off from the rest of the world without food and water. Since nobody knew about their intentions, nobody even bothered to search for them in such an unlikely places as Jabuka, and all four men eventually died of hunger and thirst.

The Peregrine falcon (Falco Peregrinus), known for being the fastest animal in the world, still nests on Jabuka for this day, and they even go as far as to attack visiting drones trying to capture some beautiful snapshots of the island.

The beautiful Peregrine falcon is an absolute world record holder when it comes to speed, possessing the ability to fly at a speed that can reach over 300 km/h. These falcons are not only the fastest bird in the world, but are also considered to be the fastest animal in the world.

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Monday, 17 June 2019

Three Cute Croatian Sea Turtles Returned to Sea Following Recovery

As Morski writes on the 16th of June, 2019, Rafael, Tilago and Žal are the names of the three sea turtles that the Sea Turtle Recovery Centre staff released back into the sea on Friday, June the 14th, 2019. They were returned to their natural habitat on the beach beside the the Verudica lighthouse on the Verudela peninsula in Pula, Istria.

After the release of the aforementioned sea turtles back into the wild, Pula Aquarium organised the opening of the new Sea of ​​sound (More zvukova) exhibition at the Verudela fortress. The exhibition is devoted to the various sounds produced by marine fauna and more. Since 2019 is marked as the International Year of Sound, this exhibition will accompany the theme with interesting interactive installations and fun educational material on the production of sound in the sea, as well as the noise pollution which interferes with the daily lives of many marine animals, RegionalExpress writes.

Žal is a sea turtle who arrived at the centre back in early May, where she was weighed, weighing 15kg, with a length of about 50cm. Her age was estimated at fifteen. She was found by some fishermen fishing at the southern end of Istria, who thought she might have been accidentally injured during the lifting of the net because she wasn't moving very well. When she arrived at the centre, she floated around for a short time and didn't want to eat independently. After just one week at the centre, she began to eat sardines and squid, after which she recovered very quickly.

Rafael is a smaller turtle who was at the centre for a while recovering from the amputation of his right front fin. He was found weak, injured and frightened stuck in an abandoned fishing net along the coast of the island of Korčula back in February 2018. He was transported to Split where a vet unfortunately had to amputate the damaged fin, and after a few days, he was brought to the Pula centre to recover from his ordeal. Rafael's recovery was a long one, he was weak, weighed only 1kg and had a shell of 25cm in length, he was estimated to be only two years old. Today Rafael weighs 3kg, his shell is 30cm long and he has finally gained enough weight and is fit enough to lead an independent life back in the Adriatic sea.

Tilago is a sea turtle who was found by the staff of Telašćica Nature Park, he weighs 30kg and his shell is 60cm in length. His estimated age is 20. He was delivered to the centre way back in February 2017 where significant damage to his shell, as well as curvature of the spine were established. It is possible that a boat propellor accidentally caused extensive injuries whuch healed themselves, but unfortunately incorrectly filled the inside of his shell with air from his lungs. For this reason, it was much more difficult for Tilago to properly control his back fins and swim normally. Despite his woes, Tilago managed to regain his swiftness and proper movement by resting and spending his winter recovering at Pula Aquarium's large and safe swimming pool, and he's now ready to return to life at sea.

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