Monday, 25 October 2021

Ten Griffon Vultures Released from Sanctuary on Cres Island

October 25, 2021 - Ten fully recovered griffon vultures were released back to nature on Monday from the sanctuary in Beli on the island of Cres.

All of the birds are the chicks hatched this year in the nests built on the east-facing steep cliffs near Beli on Cres. Their first flights didn't really end well, so they landed in the sea and were rescued thanks to the dedication of the local community and nautical and other tourists, who reported their falls to the employees of the Visitors centre and sanctuary for griffon vultures. The gang of ten released today have interesting names: Tarej, Ledenko, Špilja, Poskok, Alpioniscus, Harpactia, Kristal, Duga, Zlatan and Stalaktit.

The sanctuary is managed by the Public Institution "Priroda", owned by the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. In the five years since they've been in charge 51 recovered vultures were given another lease on life.

Four of the griffon vultures were provided with special instruments which will record their movements after the release. The cooperation between the Priroda Institution and the BIOM Association has lasted for years, and they've been supplying the GPS trackers for the Cres Vultures through their various projects.

The director of the Priroda Institution Irena Jurić told the Croatian Radiotelevision that the GPS tracking, in addition to providing valuable info on the vultures' movements, repeatedly allowed the scientists to rescue the vultures who have found themselves in dire straits - again. For instance, the vulture named Kvarner was released in 2018, after being saved on Cres, only to be saved again in Italy when it was noticed that he wasn't moving. After a long recovery, he was once more released and is currently living a happy life in France.

The Zagreb Zoo has been supporting the Beli Sanctuary since its inception, with its expertise and veterinary care. Damir Skok, the Zagreb Zoo director said that modern zoos have a large role in the education of the public, especially when it comes to the preservation of the protected species.

Thanks to the combining the methods of putting rings on the birds and the GPS following, the scientists know that one of the vultures from Cres named Vranac was noticed near Vienna in June, Marin V. was seen near Udine ten days after being released, Barbara was registered in the Austrian Alps and Taras made a round from the north of Poland to the Sisak-Moslavina County.

These days, the griffon vultures only make their nests in Croatia on the islands of Cres, Krk, Prvić and Plavnik. That's why a lot of effort is put into preserving the endangered majestic species of birds.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Island of Cres: Oldest Oak Tree Medunac, Caves and Griffon Vultures

September 29, 2020 - If you are looking for a perfect autumn atmosphere, the island of Cres is waiting for you. The oldest oak tree Medunac, caves, and griffon vultures are just a few things that you can expect on your visit to this part of Kvarner Bay.

As writes, one of the attractions of the island of Cres, which is the most interesting in the fall, is the wooded area of Tramuntana, in the northern part of the island of Cres. The area of the Tramuntana forest is almost 5,500 hectares, and it represents an important natural heritage. The vegetation of this area consists of forests of tall oak, hornbeam, and chestnut. The oldest Medunac oak tree was declared a protected natural monument in 1997.

One of the most famous oak Medunac is located in the hamlet of Sveti Petar. Due to its age and appearance and the large cavities in the body, various stories and legends are woven around it that you will probably be able to learn from the locals or at the Visitor Center in Beli. Anyone who has had a chance to see the beauty of this tree before it has been ravaged by several storms in recent decades and has broken most of its branches and top of the canopy is likely to be disappointed with today’s appearance of the tree. However, the tree still looks impressive and will probably withstand future weather and other adversities for a long time.

Experience the magnificent silhouette of a griffon vulture in flight

Watching the flight of griffon vultures in Kvarner is a unique experience. Vultures most often fly in groups, hardly flapping their wings and searching for food for hours, which is very attractive for bird watchers and all visitors to the island. They cross great distances with ease, and their appearance in the air or on one of the island's cliffs leaves no one indifferent.

Vultures are charismatic birds. Although they may not look attractive at first glance, the fact is that they have shared living space with people over a long history and have become part of folk tales and legends, taking on an important ecological and cultural role in the island space. Their charisma is also proven by the fact that they are considered a symbol of the island of Cres. Anyone who visits Cres and the Kvarner islands must look up at the sky, searching for the magnificent silhouette of a griffon vulture in flight.

Griffon Vulture | Photo by Romulic and Stojcic

The caves are hiding 12,000-year-old skeletons

There are numerous caves and pits on Tramuntana. Some of them are especially important for biospelological, paleontological, and prehistoric studies. Four skeletons of a 12,000-year-old brown cave bear were found in the Campari pit (Baniceva cave), a unique speleological object, near the village of Petricevi. These are the only such complete skeletons in this part of Europe.

Eco trails former roads that connected villages

The first educational eco-trail on the island of Cres that leads through the Tramuntana area takes you through a total of 20 stations marked by stone sculptures by the academic sculptor Ljubo De Karina. The verses of Andro Vid Mihicic, a great poet, patriot, and thinker born in Beli, are engraved on them. A network of instructive eco-trails has been established in the Tramuntana forest area. Along the trails, numerous labyrinths are designed to become a means of re-establishing the communication between Man and the Spirit of Nature.

In Tramuntana, there are a total of 7 pedestrians, the so-called eco trails that pass through the former roads that connected the now-abandoned villages and pastoral apartments on Tramuntana, seven hiking trails, and three bike trails. Experience the wilderness, meet sheep, turtles, griffon vultures. Go around the labyrinths, pass the paths surrounded by walls, and just follow the marked points.

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