Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Zagreb ZOO Hosting EAZA Conservation Forum 2022

ZAGREB, 18 May 2022 - Zagreb Zoo is hosting a three-day conference on the protection of animals and their habitats, organised by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).

The event, which opened on Wednesday, has brought together 111 experts from 70 institutions from 24 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.

The topics on the agenda range from the protection of the Pallas's cat to the reintroduction of the extremely rare bald ibis bird to the nature.

"The protection of animals is our future, the future of zoos," Zagreb Zoo director, Damir Skok, said.

Formed in 1992, EAZA’s mission is to facilitate cooperation within the European zoo and aquarium community towards the goals of education, research and conservation.

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

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Croatia Marks World Wildlife Day

ZAGREB, 3 March 2022 - Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration is the theme of this year's World Wildlife Day, marked on 3 March to raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.

World Wildlife Day 2022 will draw attention to the need to reverse the fate of the most critically endangered species, to support the restoration of their habitats and ecosystems, and to promote their sustainable use, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development said in a press release on Thursday.

Citing data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, it said that over a million different species of wild fauna and flora are facing extinction.

The last EU State of Nature report also expressed concern about the rapid rate of reduction of biodiversity in the European Union. Nature in the EU, including Croatia, is mostly threatened by human activity, in particular by alterations of natural ecosystems, unsustainable use of natural resources, and pollution, which has resulted in continued destruction and loss of species, habitats, and ecosystems. In addition to human influence, nature is also facing challenges related to climate change.

Like other EU countries, Croatia also has recognized the need to take appropriate action to conserve wildlife species and habitats.

"We cannot do without nature, and the loss of biodiversity, species, habitats, and ecosystems indeed poses an existential threat to life on Earth," the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development said.

World Wildlife Day will be marked at Zagreb Zoo on Saturday when educators will inform visitors about endangered animal species and their habitats.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Azil Dumovec: Where Zagreb Bus Drivers Take Their Injured Owls

December 8, 2021 – When there's an animal emergency in Zagreb, Azil Dumovec are the first to respond. TCN visits the city animal shelter to find out what they do.

Zagreb bus driver Dario Buzjak was making his final run from Velika Gorica back to the city terminal when he noticed something unusual lying in the road. Saturday night had already turned to Sunday morning on this late November evening. Yet, despite the lateness of the hour, the cold and bad weather, Dario postponed clocking off to stop and take a closer look.


As he got nearer, Dario could tell the owl was injured. So, to make sure she wouldn't be run over by another driver, he carefully picked her up. After placing her in the footwell of his bus, he started back on his journey to the station.


But, what to do next? Just who does a Zagreb bus driver contact when he finds an injured owl in the road?

Luckily, Dario Buzjak knew exactly what to do. He called Azil Dumovec.

“Dario knew about us because he adopted one of our dogs a few years ago,” says Tatjana Zajec, manager of Azil Dumovec. Based on the eastern outskirts of Zagreb, it is Croatia's first and largest municipality-owned animal shelter. “After he made sure it was safe inside the bus, he called us immediately. We took the call here and sent out one of our animal welfare responders.”

If there's an emergency involving an animal in Zagreb, Azil Dumovec is the first point of call. In fact, if someone phones 112 (the general emergency line) about an animal, the operator will make an assessment and, if warranted, transfer the caller to Azil Dumovec.


“On average, we take around 60 calls per day,” says Tatjana, as she shows Total Croatia News around their operations in Dumovec. Cats wander freely around the shelter's offices. Outside, a long line of excited dogs - temporary visitors waiting to be adopted. “Around 10 of those calls will be about wildlife. The others will be about domesticated animals and could come from members of the public, neighbours, the police or social services.”


“They're not always calling about dogs and cats. We are asked to come to collect pigs, ducks, geese and chickens, even though you're not really supposed to be keeping such animals when you live within city limits. Also sheep. In fact, we had one sheep just last week. She was tied to a tree in a city park. The police called us. But, by the time we got there a guy had arrived from the local pub and claimed it as his sheep. He'd tied it up in the park while he went for a drink.”


When Azil Dumovec are contacted about an animal emergency, their phone operators must decide what to do. If the call is about a regular domesticated house pet, like a dog or a cat, the animal is brought to the centre in Dumovec, checked by their vets and given a temporary home until a new one is found. If the call is about a more exotic or wild animal, Azil Dumovec will despatch a responder to collect it and take it to the Wildlife Rehabilitation section of Zagreb Zoo. The other option is to transfer the animal to AWAP (Association for Wild Animals Protection), a charity rescue centre for confiscated and injured protected animals.


“We deal with bats, badgers, beavers, deer, snakes, you name it,” says Tatjana. “Occasionally we even see some venomous snakes like poskok (Horned viper - Vipera ammodytes). Usually, they live in the area of Medvednica. But, several times we've been called to remove them from Zagreb houses. They crawl into basements and sometimes cars to escape from bad weather.”


“A lot of the calls we get are because wild animals share parts of the city with people,” she says. “And, many of the people who live here just don't understand it. They don't know what to do. For instance, they might have a bird or a bat that makes a home for itself on their balcony. Or they might be startled by the sight of a family of foxes living on the embankment. We know one deer who likes to come to an area near Cibona Tower, very close to the city centre. He comes every year. I think it's maybe a student accommodation place. We always have so many calls about him.”

Sandrino, Tatjana's co-worker shakes his head. A veteran worker at the shelter, Sandrino used to work outside with the animals. Now, he answers the phone in the call centre.

“This is cleaner,” he tells TCN of his new position. “But, honestly, it's better to work outside with the dogs.”


“Different kinds of people call you,” he says. His emphasis is on the word 'different'. He's being polite.

“Well, it's a big town,” he adds, with a shrug and a smile. “One guy found an injured pigeon. We had to send it to AWAP. He asked “Can I come to visit him?”, like it is some kind of hospital with visiting times.” Sandrino laughs.

Koprivnica3December.jpgAnother owl referral to Azil Dumovec. This one, collected on 3 December, was found near Koprivnica

Tatjana herself has also seen her role change significantly during her time here. Originally, she graduated as a veterinary doctor. But, since joining Azil Dumovec, she's become shelter manager and helped them shape Croatian law and embrace the social media revolution.

“Actually, we took some inspiration from the UK,” she recalls. “After graduation, I contacted the RSPCA and the Dog's Trust to learn how they did things. Thereafter we became a 'no kill' shelter. Our next step was to lead the call for our Animal Welfare Law in Croatia to be changed. We succeeded and after that, all Croatia's shelters became 'no kill', like us.”

261811819_5419489434744878_6224370234313355422_n.jpgDario Buzjak visits the owl he found at Zagreb Zoo

In the hours following Dario Buzjak's owl discovery, it seemed like half of Zagreb knew about his story. Photos of the owl taking a ride on Dario's Zagreb bus hit Facebook and Instagram first. The next day, TV and newspaper reporters were dispatched to Zagreb Zoo where they interviewed Dario visiting his new friend.

“Today, our social media accounts are a very important part of our communications,” says Tajana. “We dedicate quite a lot of time to them – posting photos, getting the stories and following up. But, in the end, it's totally worth it. These social media channels are the reason we have the highest rehoming rates in Croatia. We rehome over 1000 animals every year.”

255047170_5365234013503754_4207230759808381935_n.jpgCute photos on social media. Time-consuming but effective.

You can find out more about Azil Dumovec from their website here, their Facebook here or their Instagram here

All images courtesy Azil Dumovec

Friday, 5 November 2021

Zagreb to Get First Facility for Wildlife Rehabilitation

ZAGREB, 5 Nov 2021- Zagreb will get its first facility for the accommodation and care of wild animal species within the Shelter for Abandoned Animals "Dumovec", and its realisation was made possible under the EU project "Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre -- Modernisation of the Zagreb Zoo Phase III".

The total value of the project amounts to about HRK 22.7 million (€3 million), and of that HRK 6 million (€800,000) is co-financed by the EU. The project is implemented from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2023.

Taking care of injured, exhausted or confiscated animals of protected species will finally be done at a special facility, a recovery centre that will consists of specialised areas of more than 1,300 square metres.

The ground for will be for taking care of abandoned dogs, and the first floor will be for injured and exhausted wild animals from Zagreb, strictly protected species from the entire Croatia and those seized in cross-border traffic.

"The facility will house a modern quarantine and veterinary clinic, a vehicle adapted for the transport of animals will be purchased, as well as equipment for animal control service and equipment for marking animals that are released in the wild," said project manager Davorka Maljković.

Ida Partl from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development said that the Ministry coordinated the operation of 11 recovery centres in Croatia and that six more project would be financed from the cohesion funds.

For more news, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Zagreb Zoo Celebrates 96th Birthday

ZAGREB, 12 June, 2021 - Zagreb Zoo celebrated its 96th birthday on Saturday, with Mayor Tomislav Tomašević expressing his satisfaction that the Zoo was being modernised with EU funding.

Tomašević said that the Zoo has made great progress since its beginnings when it had only three foxes and three owls. "I am really glad that the first infrastructure project in Zagreb to be funded by the EU was the Zoo," he said, adding that the project concerned the first phase of the modernisation of the Zoo worth about HRK 30 million, 95 percent of which was provided by the EU.

The mayor said that the forthcoming second phase of modernisation would be carried out in cooperation with non-governmental organisations. About 60 percent of financing would be provided by the EU and the rest by the City of Zagreb. He added that a third phase of modernisation was under preparation.

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

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Say Hello to New Baby Kangaroo at Zagreb ZOO!

August 23, 2020 - The head of the third descendant of a Belgian-French pair of kangaroos peeked out of its mother's pouch at the Zagreb Zoo!

As Več reports, four-year-old Skibo and his partner who is one year his junior at the Zoo have been in love since day one. Thanks to that, they had two sons and their latest joey whose gender is still unknown. Their eldest son is already one year and three months old, the middle son is eleven months old, and their youngest offspring about four months old.

"Every new baby makes us happy, but when a pair of animals in a zoo manages to raise several generations of babies, it is a great success for all who take care of them. Our swamp wallabies share their habitat with red-necked wallabies and emu and together with them the magnificent fauna of distant Australia. It is important for us that our visitors, after being delighted with them, feel the need to contribute to the preservation of all animal species with which we share the planet," said Damir Skok, director of the Zoo.

Wetland wallabies who otherwise live in the wild inhabit forests, wetlands, and other areas of the east coast of Australia, rich in vegetation.

They love living in the shade of trees and shrubs on a substrate rich in young trees, grass, ferns, and other low-lying vegetation. There are about eighty types of plants on their menu - from leaves and seeds to mushrooms and algae. In zoos, original Australian food is successfully replaced by buds, grass, and vegetables. The marsh wallaby is about 70 centimeters tall and weighs between 15 and 20 kilograms. His fur is mostly dark brown, and many swamp wallabies have yellowish streaks on their cheeks.

This little kangaroo reaches sexual maturity between the ages of 15 and 18 months, and joeys are just one centimeter in size when they're born. They enter their mother's pouch, where they spend the next nine months. It is an interesting fact that marsh wallabies mate throughout the year and that in females, most often while one cub is developing in the pouch, a new fetus grows in the uterus.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

1,100 Animals from Dumovec Shelter Found New Home in 2019

ZAGREB, February 2, 2020 - Almost 1,100 animals were adopted in 2019 from the Shelter for Abandoned Animals of the City of Zagreb, better known as Dumovec, just like in 2018, so that 844 dogs and 248 cats found their new home, the shelter said earlier this week.

Most animal adoptions, every fourth, take place on a Saturday.

"A lot of people come because they have seen a photo of a pet on our website, but when they arrive, they 'fall in love' with another one," says the shelter's manager Tatjana Zajec.

She says that they have been warning people for a long time that the pet's appearance is not something they should base their choice on. "A pet should be chosen according to a person's lifestyle. The person and a dog or a cat should 'click' and they should be suitable for each other in the long term," Zajec says.

The number of interventions in which the shelter's fieldwork staff assisted state and city services nearly doubled last year. There were 134 such interventions, with the team mostly helping veterinary inspectors and the police. The team had a total of 2,100 interventions. Besides pets, domestic and wild animals also needed help. Birds required the most interventions, 774 of them.

Wild animals are inspected and treated by the Zagreb Zoo, while the shelter's veterinary clinic takes care of cats and dogs. Its veterinarians performed about 10,000 examinations, vaccinations and surgical procedures.

"In its 19 years the shelter has become a place for the systematic care of abandoned animals. Our staff are on call 24 hours a day so that injured animals could receive the appropriate care even in the middle of the night. The current needs of abandoned animals in Zagreb exceed our capacities. We therefore hope that owners will become more responsible toward their pets and that we will be able to expand our dog and cat housing capacity as soon as possible," said Damir Skok, the director of Zagreb Zoo, which includes the Dumovec shelter.

More news about animals can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

First Swamp Wallaby Ever Born in Zagreb

Curiosity has prompted him to peak out of his mum’s pouch, but he is yet to wander much from it. Just ten days ago, the staff of the Zagreb Zoo noticed that the pouch was moving, which meant that the zoo at Maksimir had become richer for another swamp wallaby, the first ever born in Zagreb. There are three others which already live at the ZOO, but they came from other European cities, reports Večernji List on May 2, 2019.

“The head of the family is the three-year-old male Skibo, who came from Belgium. We also have two younger females who came from France,” explains the Zoo director Damir Skok, adding that one of them is the little wallaby’s mother.

Wallabies are a species of kangaroos living in the wilderness of eastern Australia, with an average weight of 15 kg. They grow to about 70 cm, and their tails are about the same length as the rest of the body. The baby will surely grow into a beautiful wallaby, says the ZOO employees, who will have to wait a little bit longer to see the new inhabitant running around his home.

“The cub stays in the pouch for about eight months, which means that he will be there for about half a year more," says Skok, explaining that the sex of the little kangaroo will only be known after he is seen for a bit longer. At the moment, the wallaby pops out of the pouch only when there is something exciting to see, but he remembers quickly that he should return to his mother. In the meantime, she is waiting for him, patiently and willingly.

“She is a great mom. This is the first cub for this family of swamp wallabies, but she knows what she is doing. And the other two, the male and the female wallabies, have no problems with the new member,” says Skok.

Swamp wallabies prefer a solitary life and gather in nature only at feeding time, mostly at night. Since they live in the wild and are relatively short for kangaroos, during the daylight, they are usually hidden in tall grass. However, the ones in Zagreb prefer to spend the sunny days sunbathing outdoors, just like other animals from Australia.

And all the animals from Australia will take part in the Australian day, which will take place from 11 am to 6 pm on Saturday, organised together with the Australian Embassy. Visitors will get to know the nature, sports, culture, gastronomy and customs of Australia, play Australian cricket and football and paint boomerangs, and they will also be able to visit eight areas of the garden that will represent different parts of Australia.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Mateja Šobak).

More news about the Zagreb Zoo can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Zagreb Zoo Organises Special Bunny Show on Easter Monday

In recent days, the Zagreb Zoo has seen a host of new-born bunnies coming out of their settlement just ahead of Easter. More info about the latest zoo inhabitants will be announced today, on Easter Monday, when the zoo will organise the special Bunny Show and many other events, reports Večernji List on April 22, 2019.

“The children’s area of the Zagreb Zoo has new inhabitants – five adorable bunnies. They are all of the anthracite-grey colour, except for one which is white-grey. They are about three weeks old and have delighted all the employees and visitors,” said the Zoo.

The Zoo said that visitors would be able to find out more about the bunnies on Easter Monday from 11 am to 5 pm, at the special Bunny Show. The event will also include the participants of the Eko Academy, a programme for elementary school students which is taking place at the ZOO this week, during the school Easter recess. Educators will show children how the zoo takes care of its youngest inhabitants.

On Easter Monday, the zoo will also traditionally organise a programme that combines old customs with content tailored to the new generation of children. In the company of animals enjoying the beginning of the spring, children will be able to find out more about some of the most popular symbols of Easter holidays.

Colourful eggs, filled with desserts, will be presented to chimpanzees, racoons, capuchins, meerkats, lemurs, brown bears and gibbons. The Bunny association will explain the difference between hares and rabbits, as well as show children how people care about their long-eared pets.

The Lutonjica Theatre is preparing children's plays, and the Miss4Miss fashion agency a children fashion show. Members of the twirling club from Sveta Nedjelja will showcase their skills, and a children's choir will delight the visitors with songs. There will also be a host of creative, sports, eco and culinary workshops, and the good mood will be spread by costumed promoters, surprise gifts, cartoons...

The Zagreb Zoo organises the event in collaboration with the Wishmama web portal.

Translated from Večernji List.

More news about the Zagreb Zoo can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 31 March 2019

First King Cobra Arrives in Zagreb Zoo

ZAGREB, March 31, 2019 - The Zagreb zoo's refurbished "The spirit of monsoon forests" enclosure, which will house a Komodo dragon and a king cobra, the first in the zoo's history, was inaugurated earlier this week.

The enclosure has eight new terrariums housing ten species which were not visible to visitors until now, said Damir Skok, the zoo's manager. "Two are especially magnificent, the king cobra, the world's longest venomous snake, and the Komodo dragon, the world's biggest lizard."

Zagreb's zoo "is one of the best in the world in terms of reptiles," he added.

The zoo's curator for fish, amphibians and reptiles, Ivan Cizelj, said the king cobra and the Komodo dragon would mean a lot for the education of people about endangered species.

"Our Komodo dragon is included in the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria project which encompasses the breeding and display of the species, visitor education and the zoo's participation in programmes for the protection of the dragon on the island of Komodo," said Cizelj.

The king cobra, a 230-centimetre-long male, arrived in Zagreb from the Plzen zoo in the Czech Republic. The Komodo dragon came from Pierrelatte, France in 2016. It is a 170-centimetre-long, six-year-old male weighing 29 kilos.

More news about Zagreb Zoo can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Page 1 of 4