Want to observe large carnivores in their natural environment? CROmedo-bearwatching allows you to do that!

What can Gorski kotar be proud of, and what sets it apart from most destinations in the rest of Croatia? The first thing that comes to mind is the beautiful nature. And it hides many more beauties that need to be discovered, but also preserved.

Photo: Janez Žalig, source: Facebook CROmedo - bearwatching

Tourism and biodiversity are in a symbiotic relationship. Namely, tourism can affect biodiversity in two ways - positively and negatively. We are aware of how important it is to constantly emphasize the importance of rich biodiversity. This leads to an increase in the value of the area and the opening of opportunities for the development of eco-tourism. However, if we increase the pressure on the habitat of a particular species, degradation or loss of biodiversity may occur. It’s not something any of us would want.

Better tourism is also more sustainable

Modern tourists are looking for a unique experience and connection with the local community they are visiting, but they also want to know that their money contributes to the development of the destination they come to. That is why today in tourist offers we can find information about investing a certain percentage of earnings in nature protection.

Photo: Blanka Kufner

Today’s tourists love to visit areas where they can see rare and unique wildlife in their natural habitat. They want to be close to them and find out interesting information about them. These guests, in addition, want to consume local specialties and stay in private accommodation that evokes the life of a local man as opposed to impersonal hotels. That is why better quality tourism is also more sustainable.

Photo: Blanka Kufner

People are interested in various species of animals and that is why they have become the focal point of many tourist activities based on the observation of fauna. Again, the economic benefits of such tourism can increase local support for the conservation of these species. Tourism can directly generate income for work on nature conservation. Tourism involving wildlife watching can help raise public awareness and promote species conservation.

///Are you ready to meet our biggest land animal – the bear?

CROmedo - bearwatching

One summer day in 2019, I went to the northern part of Gorski kotar to the town of Parg. Here you can have an unforgettable experience of observing and photographing bears and other wild animals in a completely natural environment. In pristine forests that are part of the protected European ecological network NATURA 2000 right next to Risnjak National Park, they live all three great beasts Old continent – ​​wolf, lynx and bear.

Photo: Facebook CROmedo - bearwatching

The guys from CROMedo - bearwatching team brought me by jeep to the observatories, which are located in carefully selected locations. They are suitable for observing animals in the evening and morning hours, whether it is just observation or professional filming. They are modernly equipped, comfortable and safe for the stay of several observers at the same time. They are thermally and sound-insulated, so wild game cannot feel you, and due to the special types of glass, they cannot even see you. The animals are observed at a small distance, so it is possible to take fantastic photos. Each observation post is equipped with a sanitary facility.

Photo: Blanka Kufner

Off-road transport is provided to the locations, which is also a special experience for many because you drive on forest terrain where roads are not built in part. There are steepness and obstacles, so hope for an increase in adrenaline.

- We do not breed or feed bears on our observation posts. Only people who want to experience the experience of watching bears are allowed to do just that, to see bears in nature, Željko and Siniša tell us.

Photo: Facebook CROmedo - bearwatching

They are primarily oriented towards bear watching, but they do not exclude the possibility of the arrival of other animals that live in this area. It can be deer and roe deer, wild boar, badger, fox, and many species of birds. I was lucky enough to take some nice photos of the birds. Namely, I didn't stay long enough to be able to see anything bigger. From the time I was there until today, they managed to complete the underground observation post as well. I guess staying in it is an even better experience.

Photo: Blanka Kufner

Guests who spend three or more days with them are guaranteed at least one arrival of game at the observation post, otherwise they do not charge an exit. They adapt to the needs of guests and offer organization and multi-day stay with accommodation and meals on the principle that every day is observed in a different location.

paddy field

We suggest what to visit and learn in Risnjak National Park - a forest kingdom with the most beautiful views

Are we aware of the wealth we have?

Bear-friendly programs are not only focused on encounters with large carnivores but also include habitat experience, recognizing signs of animal presence as well as learning about the coexistence of wildlife and local residents.

All those involved in tourism involving large carnivores should adhere to the guidelines for responsible tourism in order to minimize adverse effects and maximize the indirect positive effects on the conservation of large carnivores.

Visitor groups should be small and under constant supervision and should be familiar with guidelines for proper behavior in areas where carnivores live. It is important to guarantee the safety of people and animals in order for the visit to be successful for all. Visitor satisfaction will result in their revisiting or passing on a nice word to acquaintances.

Most tourists interested in this type of travel come from the north and west of Europe, are middle-aged and well-situated. They mostly come for a week (and less) days, but are willing to spend hundreds of euros a day. They travel in small groups and are environmentally very aware. Croatia is one of the few countries in Europe that is a habitat for brown bears, wolves, lynxes and many birds. In addition, hiking, biking or nature walks are also highly sought after activities of Europeans.

Experiences from Slovenia

In the extreme south of Slovenia, on the border with Gorski kotar, is the Loka Valley. It is surrounded by the vast forests of Notranjska, which are the largest uninhabited forest area in Central Europe. However, this habitat of many animal species is only an hour's drive from Ljubljana.

Photo: Facebook CROmedo - bearwatching

The Tourist Information Center (TIC) Lož operates under the auspices of the Snežnik Public Institution, which designed the first brown bear observation programs in its natural environment in 2013. The programs arose from the possibility of designing a tourist product that derives from the rich and diverse natural features of the Loka Valley. All elements of sustainable tourism development are included, and at the same time a respectful attitude towards nature is promoted. Particular attention is paid to the protection and conservation of the brown bear in its natural environment.

TIC Lož was the first to appear on the Slovenian tourist market with this offer. The target group for bear watching programs is primarily individuals and smaller groups of nature lovers. The center has taken on the role of an information center that organizes animal observation, and offers guests other information related to the presence of brown bears in Slovenia. This has become an example of good practice in developing such a sustainable product

- Through other professional institutions and projects, we present the program to foreign experts, and with our experience we help other service providers in the development of similar products., we learn from the Tourist Information Center Lož.

All their programs are based on the principles of coexistence of a man with a brown bear, for which they received the label 'kind to the bear'. Part of the proceeds from the activities is intended to preserve the brown bear and its environment as well as to promote the positive attitude of the local population towards this fantastic animal.


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