The state of bird and nature protection in Croatia
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Croatia, as a Mediterranean country in the south-eastern part of Europe, is an area with a characteristic flora and fauna. The ornithofauna of Croatia reflects that it is a breeding area for some of the globally endangered bird species, as well as a site for the spring/autumn passage and the wintering of European migratory birds. Many ornithologically significant localities are designated and there are 20 ornithological reserves and four wetland sites that are on the list of the Ramsar Convention.
In Croatia, there are four governmental organizations dealing with scientific research on birds of which the Institute for Ornithology of the Croatian Academy, of Sciences and Arts is that with the longest tradition. There are also many non-governmental organizations dedicated to the protection of environment, but only the Croatian Society for Bird and Nature Protection is dedicated mostly to bird protection. There are not many sources of funding for research and the protection of birds; the chief source being the Ministry of Sciences and Technology of the Republic of Croatia.
Croatia has to establish new legislation according to European criteria and The Hunting Law, The Nature Protection Law and The Environment Protection Law have been recently accepted in Parliament. International Conventions, such as Bern, Bonn and Washington, have yet to be adopted. Foreign, hunting tourism, especially organized by fishpond authorities, is believed to be killing large numbers of protected water birds. A red data book exists only for plants and mammals and this makes biological assessments difficult.
With the end of military operations and the reintegration of the occupied areas of Croatia, an assessment of the damage to the national parks and nature reserves, and to nature in general, will be necessary. Bird and nature conservation in Croatia remains promising, provided the legal control of the Croatian government over the occupied parts of the country is restored soon and international organizations give assistance.
KeywordsNature Protection Wetland Site Protected Water Biological Assessment Ramsar Convention
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