Croatian Fauna 2011 SI

Croatian Fauna 2011

The author of the photograph of the Brown Bear is Đuro Huber. In Croatia there lives a Brown Bear (Ursus arctos), one of the eight species of bears in the world. It belongs to the order of beasts (Carnivora) and the family of bears (Ursidae). Although a beast, the Brown Bear satisfies 95% of his nutritional requirements by eating plant food, while for the rest of 5% of animal proteins in bear’s food provide mainly invertebrates and large animal carcasses. Among plant food in spring and summer dominate herbaceous plants and grasses, supplemented in summer also with various soft fruits and in autumn with the fruit of the beech as the main food used in the formation of winter reserves of subcutaneous fat. Bears are the biggest living meat eaters on land. In Croatia grown-up females weight between 100 – 130 kg, and males between 150 – 200 kg, some even up to 300 kg. Within the period of one year the weight of a grown-up bear can vary for more then one third: the greatest weight is in late autumn before lair building, and the smallest in the beginning of summer, i.e. at the end of the pairing season. The body is covered by long fur and thick underfur predominantly brown, often dark brown, even black, on the spine. While walking, the bears touch earth with whole foot, exactly like man. On foot-fingers there are claws, especially long on front legs (about 5 to six cm) and very strong. The bear uses them to dig in the ground, in rotten stumps and ant hills, to turn over stones, to kill and tear the prey. The bear’s denture has all the characteristics of beasts with typical incisors, canines and carnassials. In November the bear prepares his lair. In our areas the majority of lairs are found in smaller hollows in rocks which the bears adapt to their needs by digging. In the lair the bear prepares a comfortable bed of dried grass, leaves or branches. In the lair the bear hibernates, i.e. does not eat or drink for more than three months. Though, some bears can be found active throughout the whole winter. The bears mate from the end of May to the middle of July, and the cubs are born in January during hibernation. The female bear give birth to one to four cubs weighting about 350 g, blind and almost furless. She feeds them with its milk containing about 22% fat and 12% proteins. The cubs spend with their mother their first year of life and the next winter in liar, and are ready to separate at the age of 1,5 year, in May and June when the mother mates again. Our bears mature in three to four years, and can live in nature between 10 and 20 years. In the area of 12.000 km2 of Gorski kotar and Lika there live about 1000 bears. Today in Croatian a bear has the status of hunted wildlife and can be hunted outside reserve areas. The limited size of available habitat and a vast space necessary for the life of each bear make a more significant population growth impossible, which fact then results in the status of a rare species. The smallest life area for a single bear is about 250 km2, and the habitat must not be divided by roads or other human interference. In new highway’s areas passing through bear’s habitat have thus been built a number of special crossings and green bridges. The woods where the bears live are in no case more dangerous places for a human than city streets. One should bear in mind that the bears are afraid of people and avoid them but do not like to be taken by surprise. The mother bear cares very much for her cubs so do not influence the behaviour of the bear by bringing food or inducing restlessness, do not surprise the bear and come close, but also do not run away from them. In Croatia bears are being radiotelemetrically (since 1981) and in other ways (recently also genetically) monitored at the locations of Plitvice Lakes, Risnjak and Velebit. Đuro Huber.

The author of a photograph used for the creation of the stamp Eleonora’s Falcon is Dietrich Ristow. Eleonora’s Falcon (Falco eleonorae Gené 1839) is a smaller species of falcon, 36 – 42 cm long, weighting 350 – 450 g and with wing span of 87 – 104 cm. It comes in two varieties – light and dark – and sexes are distinguished by the colour of eye ring and vax gland. With mail it is in yellow and with female in blue. This kind nests mainly in the Mediterranean (Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Croatia, Tunisia, Algeria and Spain) and to a smaller extent also in some closer parts of the Atlantic (Spain and Morocco). According to newest estimations total world population is 15.000 nestling pairs, of which more than 80% in Greece. The population stays in winter in Madagascar and in wider surrounding area – Tanzania, Mozambique, Seychelles, Reunion and Mauritius. Eleonora’s falcon nests in colonies, laying two to four eggs on mostly unapproachable cliffs of islands at see, in August and September, which is quite unusual in bird’s world in the northern hemisphere. This phenomenon developed as adaptation to small birds’ nutrition. In August and September this bird’s populations are most numerous and migrate across islands where the falcons nest, and in such was to young falcons the largest possible amount of food is ensured. Normally, the grown up falcons out of the nestling season frequently feed on larger kinds of insects, caught in flight. The species was in 1839 described by Italian biologist Giuseppe Gené who named it according to the medieval ruler of Sicily, Eleonora d’ Arborea, who in her legal code Carta de Logu, for the first time in history devoted one article to the protection of birds of prey. In Croatia there are 80 – 90 nesting pairs, which is somewhat more than 0,5% of the world’s population. Croatia is an edge area for this species, and entire or almost entire Croatian population mainly inhabits the islands of Vis, Svetac and Biševo and the nearby islets, but single birds have also been spotted on the islands of Palagruža and Jabuka. Eleonora’s falcon is listed in Red Book as endangered species in Croatia (EN), and is strictly protected by law. Official Croatian name for this species is / as in most other languages, Eleonora’s falcon, but it should be pointed out that in Croatia there is also a unique and original name for this bird – hmanzá – the only autochthon Croatian term. This name is used by the inhabitants of the locality of Komiža on the island of Vis, who traditionally are the only ones, apart from ornithologists –professionals, who perceive and recognize Eleonora’s falcon as a separate species. In Croatia since 1998 systematic investigations of Eleonora’s falcon have been underway, while older data are scarce. The investigations have shown that the population, in spite of many potential dangers, especially in recent time, is stable for the time being, but its generally small number suggests vigilance. Since 2009 also satellite monitoring of Eleonora’s falcon is in place. It has resulted in interesting discoveries about the migration route and has shown that the autumn migration route from Croatia to Madagascar greatly diverges from earlier presumptions, when satellite technology was not in place. Earlier it was presumed that in autumn the birds from the whole nesting area fly toward eastern Mediterranean to the south, following the coastline of east Africa. However, today we know that the birds from Croatia fly over the Mediterranean, and then across the middle part of the African continent to the south, taking the shortest route. Gvido Piasevoli

Photographs used to create the stamp Mediterranean Monk Seal originate from the archive “Group -Mediterranean Monk Seal“ of the Association for Investigation and Protection of Nature and were made by the photograph Gianni Pecchiaro. Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus, Hermann 1779) belongs to the order of fin-footed animals (Pinnipedia), family of earless seals (Phocidae), genus of monk seals (Monachus). Today it lives in small colonies in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, along the coastline of Mauritania – Morocco. Total population consists of about 350 single monk seals, living in small isolated colonies of 5 to 7 monk seals, the biology of which is not well known yet. For its sensitiveness, rarity and critical status it is among the ten most endangered mammals in the world. It dwells in areas where it gives birth and in caves with pebble beaches or stone slabs. Once there lived in the Adriatic a population of 60 specimens, and today this number has been reduced to 20 specimens. Local Croatian names for Mediterranean monk seal are morski čovik (man of the sea) medvid (bear) and morski fratar (sea monk). Mediterranean Monk Seal was for the first time scientifically described in 1779 on the basis of the carcass found near Osor, at the island of Cres. Mediterranean monk seal is adapted to living in sea. It has no auricles, it can not turn rear fins forwards; they are always stretched behind, so that it always moves clumsy on land, but thanks to its hydrodynamic form they move very masterly and fast in the water. Mediterranean monk seal has got big round eyes and 30 pointed teeth. On front fins it has got very well developed claws, while they considerably smaller on back fins. In contrast to the younglings a gown up Mediterranean monk seal has got thick, short and stiff fur of greyish and brownish colour. Around its wide nostrils and above the eye there are big, lighter and stiff feeling whiskers. Mediterranean Monk Seal is two to three meters long and can weight up to 400 kg, so that it is the biggest animal in the family of seals. In outer look there is no difference between the sexes. A female is mature at the age of five and a male at the age of 7 years; they mate and feed only in water. Gestation period is 10 to 11 months, so that every second year a female gives birth to one youngling 60 to 80 cm long , weighting 40 to 60 kg. The youngling sucks 10 to 18 weeks. In first days after the birth the youngling is constantly on dry land and fully dependent on his mother. Mediterranean monk seal can live up to 40 years feeds on cephalopods, crabs and molluscs. It eats 10 to 12 kg of food daily. Mediterranean monk seal uses adequate submarine caves to raise her younglings and to rest, undisturbed by people. Systematic investigation of the habitat of the Adriatic open-sea islands and their photographing proved that the Mediterranean monk seals live there. The reporting analyses show that most often they are spotted in spring and autumn, and rarely in summer and winter months. Also the method of photo identification (videos and photographs) of the Mediterranean monk seal was used and on the basis of these results it is assumed that in the Adriatic there live more specimens (male, female and youngling). Mediterranean monk seal has been protected in Adriatic since 1935 by the “Dalmatian Decree“ and on the basis of the Law on Nature Protection a fine of 100 thousand Croatian kuna is foreseen for disturbing and killing them. Jasna Antolović

Technical Details

Issue Date: 15.03.2011
Designer: Tomislav Vlainić,designer, Split
Printer: Zrinski - Čakovec
Process: Multicolor Offset Printing
Colours: 4 Colours
Size: 29,82 x 35,50 mm
Values: 0.22, 0.42, 0.62