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Brown bear and humans – respectful coexistence
In all Croatia – and this applies particularly to the forests in the mountains of Gorski kotar, Lika, Istria, the hinterland of Dalmatia, and some uninhabited forests on the Croatian Littoral and the island of Krk – there are today approximately one thousand brown bears, many more than in other European countries.
Although very few people would actually like to encounter a large brown bear on their trip in nature, you should know that a chance for such an encounter are much higher in Croatia than in the neighbouring European countries. Although this might sound like a major warning, do not fear, for you are not in danger – despite the fact that they are very numerous and inhabit large areas with many villages and forest trails, the bears are very successful in hiding from humans. The fact that there is a chance of encountering a 300-kg brown bear could maybe entice some people to take a tour of Croatian woods, but this adventure will probably end without success.
In contrast to other, more densely inhabited countries, Croatia can still boast about having areas that are large enough to satisfy the needs of large brown bears, which makes possible the coexistence of bears and humans. Bears need large spaces for life, and the institutions responsible for the care of these large forest animals keep their populations under control – their number should not exceed the above mentioned thousand individuals.
For this reason, special care is being taken of their natural habitats in Croatia's distant uninhabited forest areas. This means that if you are is search of adventure, you will probably not be successful. But for true nature lovers, the fact that a brown bear might be in the vicinity is enough to cause both fear and respect, making them want to see these animals at least once in a lifetime – from a safe distance.