NP Risnjak - Crni Lug - Delnice - Croatia

NP Risnjak @ Crni Lug
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geology - climate - flora - fauna -population - tradition -



The Risnjak area has, in the past, and continues today, been home to the brown bear (Ursus arctos), the wolf (Canis lupus) and the lynx (Lynx lynx). These species depend on the enormous calm areas which are not disturbed by people and on the numerous animals which represent their typical prey. The number of chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) has decreased and their re-introduction into nature is one of the plans of action to be included in the Management plan. The Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) and Roe Deer (Capreolus capreouls) population is too small for the habitat capacity. Here we can even find Wild boar (Sus scrofa) whose population is stable.

The Lynx is probably the rarest and most hidden beast living in Europe. Only the best hunters or nature connoisseurs are able to find traces of the lynx or the lynx itself. The number of lynxes is so low that it is rarely seen and its presence is often missed. However, the lynx represents an important clip in the Risnjak ecosystem food chain. As well as this, the lynx has also given its name to the National Park.

At the moment, Risnjak is one of the rare key areas in Croatia where the lynx survives. In Europe is hard to find huge unexploited mountain forests such as the Risnjak National Park and its surrounding areas making it one of the last shelters for large animals in Europe.

The total estimated number of living wolves in Croatia today is 160 to 210. The Wolf is listed on the IUCN’s Red List as a threatened species and its hunting is forbidden by law. The main habitat for wolves in Croatia is the limestone ecosystems located in Gorski kotar, Lika and Dalmatia where most of the wolves’ population lives. By means of the LIFE, Protection and management project which takes care of wolves in Croatia, in the Risnjak National Park and within its surrounding areas, two wolf herds (Risnjak herd and Snježnik herd) are being traced.

Brown bears have been analysed in Croatia, particularly in the area surrounding the Risnjak Nationl Park, since the 1980s. The typical habitat of each bear is larger than the National Park area, which means that for the bear and other large animal preservation, the National Par’s borders are too small. The controlled area of at least 500 m around the National Park’s borders has to be strictly used as numerous hunting-grounds in the surrounding areas are trying to tempt bears from the National Park area into feeding places which are located in its proximity.


Within the Risnjak National Park area and its surrounding areas, to date 114 bird species have been registered. In the National Park itself 78 bird species nest and are mostly nesting birds which live in the forest.

One third of the nesting birds (26 species) is located on the Red List of threatened plants and animals in Croatia (Radovic and col. 2004): one species (Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus) has the status of endangered species (EN), two species (the Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrines and the Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium passerinum) have the status of vulnerable (VU), eight species are considered near threatened (NT) and 13 species have the status of least concern (LC) in Croatia.

At the European level, four species have the status of vulnerable, one is considered rare and ten species have the status of species whose population in Europe is decreasing. Twelve nesting bird species are listed in Appendix I of the EC Birds Directive, and 59 species in Appendix II in The Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (the Bern Convention).

Four species have been selected for monitoring: the Ural Owl Strix uralensis, the Tawny Owl Strix aluco, the White-backed Woodpecker Picoides leucotos and the Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides. For these species, transects have been selected and main data for the future monitoring of their populations has been gathered.


During the inventories conducted at Snježnik, Guslica, Lazac, Šegine, Risnjak and Hrvatsko, a total of 89 species of butterflies were recorded. A total of 11 endangered species of butterflies were found, 8 in Kupa valley. The Kupa valley and the western slopes of Dimovac Hill above Hrvatsko are important sites for butterflies with 69 species recorded. Near Hrvatsko there are important wetland meadows with threatened species: the marsh fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia), in riverine bushes and trees with the purple emperor (Ampatura iris) and poplar admiral (Limenitis populi); the boundary between forest and meadow near the Kupa features the woodland white (Leptidea morsei), while mostly abandoned small dry grasslands on the slopes of Dimovac have the checkered blue (Scolintatides orion), Nickerl´s fritallary (Mellicta aurelia), green-underside blue (Glauscopsyche elexis) and woodland ringlet (Erebia medusa).

Four species of threatened butterflies were found on the Šegine grasslands.

Through a butterfly inventory on each meadow, baseline data for future monitoring will be established, thus enabling control of future management activities for semi-natural grasslands and conservation of their biodiversity.

Cave fauna

Among the examined invertebrate group, 42 taxa were found, out of them 23 troglobions, 8 troglophiles and 11 trogloxene taxa.

The most interesting are the following taxa:

Coleoptera (beetles)

The Leptodirus hochenwarti which is listed in the European Habitats Directive, Annex IV, which includes animal and plant species of community interest in need of strict protection. The species was found at three locales, and after further exploration it will probably be found elsewhere as well.

The genus Spelaeodromus until recently believed endemic to Velebit, was found in three ice pits on Risnjak plateau.

The genus Aphaobius was found in one pit-cave on Risnjak Mountain. This is the third find of this troglobion in Croatia.

One specimen of very rare pselaphid from troglobion genus Machaerites was found for the first time on Risnjak plateau in Poputna pit-cave, as well as one specimen of pselaphid of the genus Bryaxis.

Aranea (spiders)

The very rare troglobiotic spider from the genus Mesostalita was found for the second time in Croatia on Risnjak in the pit-cave called Hicova jama near Kalicnjak. Two species of the troglobion genus Troglohyphantes were recorded in the caves near the Kupa´s source.


The troglobion Neobisium (B.) pussilum was found for the first time being described in a cave in Slovenia.

The rare, small troglobiotic pseudoscorpion Chthonius (G.) spelaeophilus was found on Risnjak in two pit-caves, Poputna and Jama na Potez.

Chilopoda (centipedes)

What is likely a new troglobion species of the centipede genus Lithobius found in the pit-cave Meglena jama near Kalicnjak, as well as a probable new troglobion of the genus Lithobius (Monotarsobius).

Diplopoda (millipedes)

The troglobiotic millipede of the genus Haasia was found in caves near the source of the Kupa River.

No threats of any kind to these caves were determined during research. However, there is a possibility of physical pollution, as well as pollution of underground waters, especially in the swallow-holes in the lower parts of the Park.

© info : Nacionalni park Risnjak

today 3-12-21, last edit 31-07-17.