The course is centered in and around Risnjak National Park, the first National Park to be formed in Croatia. Risnjak National Park lies in the mountainous north western part of Croatia covers over 6000 hectares of pristine forest made up of Fir, Spruce and Beech. It is home to a thousand species of flora, over 100 species of breeding birds and still hosts Europe's three remaining large species of predatory mammal; the Wolf, Brown Bear and Lynx.
You will be immersed into the wildlife of Croatia, as well as gaining a sense of traditional Croatian life. We will be varied in our location as we look for track and sign of the different species around us. We will set out remote cameras on obvious game trails to record some footage of these animals. There will be plenty of sign for us to follow, observe and record.
After the transfer from Zagreb to the mountain village of Crni Lug (about 2 hours) we immerse you into traditional Croatian life. You stay in a private house that has been converted to accommodate groups, and live eat and drink with our Croatian hosts. You are provided an overview of the area and it's wildlife and demonstrate the key tracking signs of the resident wildlife before undertaking a dusk sit spot at a nearby favourite haunt for bear and wild boar.
What to expect
On the second day and subsequent days we recommend further dawn and dusk sit spots at this location before returning to the accommodation for either breakfast or your evening meals.
On the second day you will enter the Risnjak National Park and as an introduction to the park have a guided tour around the 4 km Leska trail which will give an insight into the geology, geography and natural history of the area. Even close to the trail we are likely to find abundant evidence of the forest fauna. We will also introduce you to the diverse flora of the area.
From day three we will begin tracking in earnest , searching more remote parts of the park and surrounding area for any tracks and sign of the local wildlife, and we will place remote cameras on obvious game trails in an attempt to capture video evidence of what is around.
The group is split down into smaller teams and each are set out with a specific purpose for the day. The course is obviously reactionary however you can expect through the trip to be calling in owls and wolves, tracking large and small mammals, interpreting feeding sign, recording findings and more.
We also hire a small cabin located remotely within the park from where we undertake through the night vigils on Bear activity, as well as Roe, Red, Wolf and more.
Each day we get out of our accommodation and put boots on the ground tracking and checking the trail cameras. On other occasions our local Croatian host will take you out to gather Flora to bring home and make into useful medicinal creams/balms/tea's. She is a wealth of knowledge.
Throughout the week we observe, track and record any birds and other wildlife we encounter and there will be ample opportunity to examine the wealth of plant and tree species in the region. Such findings are recorded and gathered to be used by the Park Authorities and are also fed into a number of Citizen Science projects globally.
Accommodation is clean and comfortable and the food comprises of locally sourced, seasonal, regional specialities... don't expect to lose weight over the week! We can, of course, cater for any dietary requirements with prior notice. Accommodation is based on 2 sharing twin bed rooms, an additional supplement is charged for single occupancy if you so desire it however we generally find most people just muck in. Both our hosts are Croatian females and lone female travellers are very welcome.
On the last day we have a gentle hike for those that wish to the highest point of the park where we hope to spot or at least pick up sign of the very rare Chamois.