Regulation on the proclamation of the ecological network

The Ecological Network of the Republic of Croatia was established in 2007. The objective of the network is to conserve species and habitat types that are threatened at the national and international levels. Areas significant for the conservation of large carnivores have also been included as a part of this network.

In acceding to the European Union and aligning its legislation with that of the European Union (in the case of the wolf, this above all is the Habitats Directive), the Republic of Croatia committed to ensuring a favourable state of conservation of species and habitat types at the national level. The wolf was highlighted as a priority species, for which conservation areas were designated within the ecological network. Upon Croatia's access to the European Union, this network became a part of the Natura 2000 network. Croatia is obliged to periodically report to the European Commission on the status of species and habitat types. Violations of these commitments can come before the European Court of Justice and result in penalties and/or sanctions.

Natura 2000 is one of the fundamental mechanisms for the conservation of species and habitats. This is a network of areas that are important for threatened species and habitat types of significance for the entire European Union. There are 11 Natura 2000 sites important for the conservation of large carnivores in Croatia. These are Gorski Kotar, Primorje and northern Lika (a particularly important area for all three large carnivores is found within the boundaries of Risnjak National Park), followed by Plitvice Lakes National Park, Mt. Dinara, the Mt. Velebit area including Northern Velebit National Park, Velebit Nature Park and Paklenica National Park, Lička Plješivica and Vučevica and Mt. Biokovo, Mt. Mosor and the Zrinska Gora hills. The total area of these areas is 6,104 km2. Considering the cross-border nature of the population, it is important to stress that Natura 2000 network areas that are important for the conservation of large carnivores have also been proclaimed in the border areas on the Slovenian side.

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