Have you already heard there is a bear refuge for Kenderev?
In 1995, the Velebit Association Kuterevo was established to preserve the wilderness of mountain in Croatia, and in 2002, in cooperation with the Croatian Center for Environmental Knowledge and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine from Zagreb, they launched a project - Refuge for the Bears in Kuterevo. Since then, all project participants have the same goal - to provide a shelter for bear orphans and to protect the bear habitat. One sunny weekend in november, before bears winter dream, we decided to take a trip to a small place located in Lika, deep in the Velebit forest. After two hours of driving from Rijeka (and Zagreb) and after a few possible turns off the road for the wonderful nature that surround you, you will arrive in Kuterevo.
Our recommendation is to start your tour by visiting big bears first and to finish at the volunteer station, but whatever you go, you will enjoy. We continued our drive till the fenced area where larger bears are located, and signs have helped us to find their home. We were lucky beacuse from above we had a look at the bears that were playing. The scene was really unbelievable, as the forest surrounding their shelter that was decorated with beautiful autumn colors. Watching the happy bear in the game, once lost and left alone in the woods, you soon become very aware of the importance of a project created in Kuterevo.
After getting to know the big bears, we decided to take a break at the cafe Ivo, located near, built in an original style from Lika. On the terrace there are wooden tables and benches where you can relax with a cup of coffee and / or continue photographing all the wonderful details that surround you.
After a short break, we headed back to the volunteer station and visited the second shelter for the bear. Volunteer station was established in 2005. In the past few years, the Refuge for Young Bears hosted 15 volunteer groups, more than 50 individual volunteers and more than 20,000 visitors annually. A volunteer introduce us with the work of sanctuary. We followed her steps, I have to admit, even in a fear, as she raised the ramp around the enclosed area all the way to get closer to the bear. From that distance you can really testify their size and awe they are provoking, even though they are just young bears. Bigger young bears, I would say. A couple of corn pats, pushed in the their shelter persuade them to come close so had a chance to be in fron of the bears but in a a safe distance.
We ended our trip to Kuterevo with a souvenir - homemade marmalade from the briar, giving a little financial contributionof the maintenance of the bear refuge and by thanking the founders and volunteers. The refuge is never closed, but the best time to visit would be after 9 am and 7 pm in the evening. Especially during the summer days, recommendation is to visit Kuterevo during early morning or late afternoon, and if you want to find out more about project information and volunteering, you can click here.
For the end here is a song from an animated television series
produced by Zagreb Film and CinéGroupe,
The Little Flying Bears.
This cartoon helps children realize the importance of protecting the environment, showing
the harmful effects of pollution and fires, as well as the important role of our ecosystem.
You can listen the original here and below I wrote a translation.
Enjoy in Kuterevo and save our forest fairytale.
In a hidden place, there is a small bears home,
they even fly, look!
Some cruel people, dangerous as a dragons, would
destroy this little paradise.
But they will not, because small bears will come!
Everyone will fight like one and they will save the forest!
If you love mountain, river and a flower
they will welcome you into their forest world,
these wonderful Little Flying Bears!