Thursday, 20 January 2022

Seen a Dolphin While Sailing in Croatia? Here’s How to Report the Sighting

January 20th, 2022 - Dolphin sightings reported through the CroDolphin Little app will help researchers study and protect marine mammals inhabiting the Croatian Adriatic

Ever gone sailing in Croatia and spotted a friendly dolphin swimming along your sailboat, occasionally hopping out of the water? Dolphin sightings are relatively common in Croatian waters, especially in the Lošinj archipelago where the population of some 200 dolphins is observed and tracked by the Blue World Institute.

If you’re heading to the Croatian coast this summer and happen to spot a dolphin while island hopping, you can now log the sighting with the help of a handy app named CroDolphin Little.

The app was developed by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb to allow for simple and quick reporting of marine mammal sightings in the Adriatic, reports Turističke priče. Its primary purpose is to collect data on the population, movements and behaviour of marine mammals in Croatia.

Anyone can help researchers study and protect marine mammal species in Croatian waters by installing the app on their smartphone and logging any sightings of dolphins, whales or Mediterranean monk seals.

The CroDolphin app is easy to use: on the front page, tap ‘I see dolphins’; there’s a separate option to select in the unfortunate case of spotting a wounded or dead dolphin. You will then have to provide some additional information, such as location (GPS or GMaps), the number of animals you’ve seen, species, date and time.

CroDolphin little app screenshot

Every sighting report triggers a text message that is sent from the app to the expert team tracking the marine mammal population. The data is also automatically stored in the database that’s open to the public, but for the sake of animal safety, any sightings reported in the last 12 hours aren’t shown on the map.

The app is available for iOS and Android, and requires internet connection for map usage.

All marine mammal species inhabiting the Adriatic, including bottlenose dolphins, are considered endangered and have been protected under Croatian law since the 1990s. It’s forbidden to kill the animals, harass them in any way, or destroy their habitat.

If you spot a dolphin on the Croatian coast, we encourage you to report the sighting, but above all remember to observe and appreciate these wonderful animals from a distance to help keep them safe. Here’s our short guide on how to behave when you see a dolphin, and what to do in case you come across a stranded or injured animal.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Split Policemen Rescue Tangled Dolphin Near Ciovo (PHOTOS)

October 27, 2021 - Not the everyday mission as Split policemen rescue a tangled dolphin just off the coast of Ciovo. 

The commander of the Split police vessel, Mate Merčep, and his two fellow police officers (Marko Tadić and Jure Katavić) from the Split-Dalmatia Police Department set out to monitor the state border towards Vis on Tuesday morning. However, a sudden call for help diverted them eight kilometers from their route, report Slobodna Dalmacija.

The policemen turned the vessel around and embarked on a new mission - rescuing a two-meter long and 70-kilogram dolphin, which they untangled from a net near Ciovo for about forty minutes.

"The fishers noticed a wounded and helpless dolphin and informed the 112 Center, and they informed us. If we had arrived half an hour later, the dolphin would not have been alive. He was wrapped in ropes that inflicted deep wounds on his body, so he didn't even move from helplessness. That bundle of ropes damaged the back of his fin, and about fifty meters of rope were wrapped around him," they said. 

Marko Tadić went down to the ship's edge and carefully tore those ropes after the three lured the dolphin to the boat.

"The dolphin received us as if he felt we wanted to help him. He was calm the whole time, and I guess he couldn't be any different since he was exhausted. Who knows when the poor thing got entangled in a fishing line? Maybe it was five hours, and maybe it was a couple of days, we don’t know that. While I was slowly cutting the ropes around the dolphin, I was careful not to cut the rope with which my two colleagues held the dolphin," Marko said.


Split-Dalmatia County Police Department

"The dolphin jerked a little because he thought we had released him, but it didn’t go that fast. A professor from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb helped us with advice and guided us on the phone. He told us that when the dolphin breathes and dives several times, then he can swim away. That's how it was in the end," Katavić and Merčep added.

In March 2019, Merčep was on a similar animal rescue mission, saving a Maltese dog that was drowning in the cold in the Lora area.

"Now he is housed in Kaštela, and I am thrilled that he is safe and warm," said Merčep.

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

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.


''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.

Monday, 1 February 2021

VIDEO: Stunning Aerial Footage of Dolphin Family in Zadar Archipelago

February 1, 2021 – The Adriatic might be too cold for us right now, but conditions are perfect for this dolphin family, spectacularly captured gliding through glacial, undisturbed waters by an overhead drone

The Adriatic might be too cold for us right now, but conditions are perfect for this dolphin family, spectacularly captured gliding through glacial, undisturbed waters by an overhead drone

The footage of the dolphin family was captured spectacularly by keen amateur drone photographer Davor Miljkovic. Davor, who is from Zapresic, usually puts his eye for aesthetics into website design – he works as a PHP website developer for Virtus dizajn in Lanište, Zagreb and as a freelance website developer. But, he is currently taking advantage of working remotely and was able to catch footage of the dolphin family during his off time.

“I live in Zapresic but my grandmother is from island Rava, near Zadar,” Davor told TCN on 1st February 2021, two days after he posted the video of the dolphin family to his Youtube channel. “So, we have a house here by the sea. My fiance and I spend part of the winter here and we are here all summer too.”

The Zadar archipelago (in Croatian Zadarski arhipelag) is an incredibly picturesque group of islands off the coast of the city of Zadar. In addition to island Rava, off which Davor saw the dolphin family, the archipelago also consists of the islands Dugi Otok, Galešnjak, Iž, Lavdara, Ošljak, Pašman, Rivanj, Sestrunj, Tun Veli, Ugljan, Vir, Vrgada, Zečevo and Zverinac.

The beautiful stretch of islands is usually very popular with summertime visitors. It would seem that it's also popular in wintertime with visitors who live in the sea. And, of course, people like Davor who are lucky enough to catch sight of them.

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Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Adriatic Sea Flourishes In 2020 As Waters Replenish

October 14, 2020 – Whales, dolphins and shrimp have returned to Croatian waters in greater numbers than in living memory as the Adriatic sea flourishes in 2020's quieter season

For obvious reasons, it's been an extraordinary year for everyone. Much of the news to report hasn't been the happiest. But, even in times of crisis, it's still possible to find reasons to optimistic and thankful.

In 2020, more tourists than in previous seasons have stayed away from Croatia's shoreline. However, their absence has been filled, in part, by a remarkable return of sea life. The Adriatic sea flourishes in 2020 with mammals, fish and crustaceans.

Dolphins are a wonderful sight to catch around the Croatian coast at any time, but not a great surprise – dolphins enjoy the fish-filled, crystal clear Adriatic as much as we all do. But the large whales spotted in Croatian waters this summer are quite uncommon.

Screenshot (40).pngDolphins filmed swimming near Ugljan island earlier this year as the Adriatic sea flourishes in 2020. You can find a link to this dolphin video above © Youtube screenshot

Researchers from the Blue World Institute are now sure that two separate whales have inhabited the Velebit Channel between August and October this year with at least one, if not both, still remaining in the area.

Of course, the wholly negative way of explaining their appearance would be to blame the uncommon occurrences on global warming. But, things may not be so clear cut. Less sailing, fewer pollutants and much fewer cruise ships in the Adriatic this year may well have made the area more inviting for the large mammals.

Key to a whale's desired place of dwelling is the food available to them. While the strict lockdown witnessed early this year struck a heavy blow on Croatia's fish markets and, in turn, the country's fishing industry, the fall in prices, the lack of demand and the reduction in fishing allowed the Adriatic to replenish.

Nadine Doerlé.jpgCrustaceans have also benefitted from a fallow year. Split fisherman Antonio Šunjić told Slobodna Dalmacija he sees an explosion in Croatia waters of shrimp numbers as the Adriatic sea flourishes in 2020 © Nadine Doerlé

In an interview with Tanja Šimundić Bendić in Slobodna Dalmacija on 10th October 2020, Antonio Šunjić, the first man of the fishermen's guild of Split and Split-Dalmatia County gave first-hand witness. He attested to an increase in tuna number (a favourite of the whales) this year. He also sees an explosion in shrimp population as the Adriatic sea flourishes in 2020.

Those who have long grown from and fed off the land know well how to look after their most precious commodity – farmers leave some fields fallow during a whole season, sowing no seeds for a year so that the ground may rest and fertility return. The fallow period the Adriatic has experienced in 2020 may deliver much greater long-term wealth than the temporary inconveniences caused by this extraordinary season.

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Tuesday, 8 September 2020

VIDEO: Group of Dolphins Playfully Follow Boat Near Vrgada

September the 8th, 2020 - The beautiful Croatian island of Vrgada is located between the historic mainland Dalmatian cities of Sibenik and Zadar in an archipelago just northwest of Murter and south of the popular Biograd na Moru. With its highest point being Srabljinovac and a population of under 250 according to the 2015 census, Vrgada is just about as close to an idyllic paradise as one can get.

The sole settlement on the island of Vrgada bears the exact same name and much like the vast majority, if not all Croatian islands, fishing plays a vital role in Vrgada's local economy. For tourists who pay it a visit, it is like turning the clock back to much simpler times and the island boasts a charm rarely seen elsewhere. This charm is only added to when you throw dolphins into the mix.

Dolphins are by far one of the world's favourite animals. They are known for their high intelligence and their friendliness with humans, even those who are unknown to them. The Croatian coast is definitely a place in which dolphin sightings, as well as sightings of sharks, turtles and even whales, are fairly frequent.

As Morski writes on the 7th of September, 2020, as stated, dolphins aren't a particularly rare sight on the Croatian coast, and this summer especially people have been reporting sightings of playful and curious dolphines swimming and jumping just a few metres away from swimmers or people in boats in general.

One reader of the Dalmatian portal Dalmacija Danas had a nice experience precisely near the truly picturesque island of Vrgada recently at about 07:00. While in the boat, a group of dolphins appeared and then followed the boat for a while, clearly curious and wanting to interact.

Watch the video of these magnificent creatures filmed near the island below:

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Wednesday, 12 August 2020

VIDEO: Playful Dolphins Frolic in Sea Between Islands Iz and Ugljan

August the 12th, 2020 - Dolphins are a favourite sight of just about everyone. Their playful attitude and friendliness even towards unknown humans has set these beautiful creatures apart and placed them into a league of their very own even among the stunning array of animals we share our planet with. Some beautiful footage of dolphins playing in the sparkling Adriatic between the Dalmatian islands of Iz and Ugljan has delighted many.

The Croatian Adriatic is rich with wildlife owing to its level of purity and cleanliness. From sea urchins which are known to be the living ''certificate'' of clean water to sharks, whales and sea turtles, Croatia's hypnotic waters are full of life. Dolphins are a common sight along the length of the Croatian coastline, and just about the only thing that can make Dalmatia even more gorgeous is the sight of dolphins leaping out of the water.

As Morski writes on the 11th of August, 2020, some lucky passengers and crew on the Anamarija ship which was operating along the the high-speed Rava - Veli Iz - Mali Iz - Zadar line, got to witness a truly beautiful sight in the more moderate morning temperatures. A group of ever-curious dolphins followed the vessel for a little while, as the sun lazily broke over the horizon, providing an absolutely breathtaking sight.

''This morning between Iz and Ugljan, at around 06:20, we were accompanied by this playful group of dolphins, which I just had to video,'' said Filip Buksa, who was among those travelling to the Dalmatian city of Zadar that morning, in which this group of dolphins decided to put on a show for those on board.

Watch the video below:

For more on Croatian wildlife, where to see certain animals, what to do to help certain animals, and to learn about animals which are protected by Croatian law, follow our dedicated lifestyle page.


Friday, 17 April 2020

Brač Discovers a Cabin Fever Cure: Feeding Dolphins

April 17, 2020 — The social distancing rules and "stay at home" measures may cause odd behavior. Like Dalmatians committing the unthinkable sin of giving free fish to the world's beloved aquatic freeloaders: dolphins.

The official Facebook page for Milna, on the island of Brač, shows the warm-blooded scavengers of the deep blue sea blissfully scrounging on trash fish straight out of a local's hands. (One bite came a bit too close.) After a bit of caution, they began enjoying a bit of a free meal, even taking turns at one point.

Old fishermen on the Adriatic once considered dolphins the bane of their existence, mistakenly thinking the mammals would eat fish out of their nets. This sparked an unfortunate backlash which has slowed significantly over the last decade.

But that doesn't mean dolphins won't go belly-up for some free fish!

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:

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

VIDEO: Watch as Carefree Dolphins Play Near Bol on Brač

Coming across dolphins is always a truly magical experience, despite the fact that a chance meeting with these beautiful creatures is not at all uncommon in the Croatian Adriatic. Even though dolphins can be seen somewhat regularly, when you get to experience them playing and enjoying themselves like this, you cannot help but feel very privileged.

As Morski writes on the 30th of July, 2019, one such video of dolphins captured as they playfully enjoyed themselves comes from the bay of Zli Dol near Bol on the island of Brač, the third largest Croatian island, and the largest one in Dalmatia, just across from Split.

There are only two species of dolphin currently known to be present in the Adriatic sea - the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis).

The short-beaked common dolphin used to live in and be spread across the entire Adriatic, but today we rarely see them in the southern Adriatic. There are almost none of them in the northern area, so the news quickly spread when, back in July 2018, researchers discovered a group of over fifty short-beaked common dolphins, an otherwise regionally extinct species, during a visit to the beautiful Telašćica Nature Park on Dugi Otok.

Bottlenose dolphins can still be found throughout the Adriatic, and this is the species to which all the most famous dolphins belong; those seen on television, sich as Flipper, Fa and Bee from the movie, and most of those performing various tricks and interacting positively with humans are bottlenose dolphins.

These are the famous intelligent and very sociable dolphins (with a few exceptions of other species), written about long ago by the ancient Greeks, and even today, these apparently fearless and very friendly creatures tend to approach people without any issues and often enter into harbours and swimming areas. While there is likely another reason to this behaviour, as dolphins are known to terrorise schools of fish in order to confuse them and make them more easy pickings, it is precisely these dolphins that some believe ''help'' fishermen catch their fish, by forcing fish into their nets. It's really no wonder that their Croatian name is the ''good dolphin'' (dobri dupin)!

In addition to these two popular inhabitants of the Adriatic, we can sometimes witness some species of porpoises and whales that have for some reason strayed from the Mediterranean sea into Croatian waters.

Watch this beautiful and uplifting video of some dolphins having fun near Bol, and make sure to keep your eyes peeled this summer on the Croatian coast - you might just see some!

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

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