Construction of green bridges

In the past decade, ten green bridges have been constructed in Croatia, intended primarily for the crossings of large carnivores. In order to meet this objective, they had to be of a certain size and shape, and situated at specially selected sites. For that reason, it was necessary to know the biology of the large carnivores, their way of life, and patterns of movement, activities and habitat use. Fortunately, this knowledge was already available, as the research project “Large Carnivores of Croatia”, led by Dr. Đuro Huber, Professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, had already collected data on the habitat use, and especially on large carnivore deaths due to traffic and the impacts of traffic on their movements. These data were included in the environmental impact assessment and applied in the construction of special crossings – green bridges – on the new motorways in Croatia.

The motorways through Gorski Kotar and Lika pass through the habitats of bears, wolves and lynx. The needs of bears, as Croatia's largest carnivore and also the species with the greatest habitat demands, were the benchmark in the decision-making on green bridges. In Dalmatia, on the other hand, wolf is the most common large carnivore, and therefore, the criteria on the position of green bridges were based on this species' needs.