Discovering Croatia #3 - Visiting The Bear Orphanage In Kuterevo - MyPictureDay Submission

in #mypictureday4 years ago

I’ve had this place on my radar for some time now, and I finally managed to visit few days ago. Now that I’ve been here, I can only say it’s a matter of time when I will come back to these guys again…

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Nikon D750 / ISO 250 / 1/160s / f5 / AS-F Nikkor 24-120mm f4G ED VR @ 85mm

Located in the Lika region, in Croatia, Kuterevo is a peaceful village surrounded by forest, sitting just beside the Mt. Velebit. In 2002, a local environmental association “Kuterevo”, in a co-operation with the Croatian Center for Environmental Science and Veterinary Faculty from Zagreb, launched a unique project - Bear Orphanage.
The mission was to provide a shelter for the bear orphans, to promote sustainable living and the traditions of the local mountain community.

In 2005, volunteer station was established to support the project and the development of local community. Over the last few years, the Kuterevo Bear Orphanage regularly hosts 15 volunteer groups, more than 50 individual volunteers and more than 20,000 visitors a year.

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Nikon D750 / ISO 250 / 1/500s / f5 / AS-F Nikkor 24-120mm f4G ED VR @ 45mm

The place is kept as similar as possible to the bear’s natural habitat. As you can see below, it’s basically a piece of the forest surrounded by a fence. There are a couple of fenced areas, currently hosting 3 grown ups, and 3 younger bears. Since the bears were brought to the orphanage as cubs, and have no knowledge of survival in the wilderness, they spend the rest of their lives here.

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Nikon D750 / ISO 250 / 1/250s / f5 / AS-F Nikkor 24-120mm f4G ED VR @ 85mm

My family and I were there in the afternoon, so the older bears didn’t feel like showing themselves. Instead, they spent the afternoon chilling somewhere in the bushes.

Younger ones where much more active. They were quite close to us, so I got the chance to shoot some close ups. The fence did give me a hard time to focus, but I managed to get a couple of nice shots before the rain started and chased us away…

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Nikon D750 / ISO 250 / 1/125s / f5 / AS-F Nikkor 24-120mm f4G ED VR @ 105mm

This area hosted 2 males and 1 female. As you can see, one of the males approached the lady and tried hitting on her. I guess his line was quite bad. Or she was in the period just before that delightful days that ladies experience once a month… :)

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Nikon D750 / ISO 250 / 1/125s / f5 / AS-F Nikkor 24-120mm f4G ED VR @ 105mm

It was quite a sight. We felt like we were in the middle of National Geographic documentary. Her ‘roar’ was very loud and frightening. It was time to turn the respect mode ON.

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Nikon D750 / ISO 250 / 1/125s / f5 / AS-F Nikkor 24-120mm f4G ED VR @ 105mm

“Did I say something?”
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Nikon D750 / ISO 250 / 1/160s / f5 / AS-F Nikkor 24-120mm f4G ED VR @ 105mm

Info about bears is scattered arround in a fun way.
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Nikon D750 / ISO 250 / 1/640s / f5 / AS-F Nikkor 24-120mm f4G ED VR @ 98mm

All of this is going on thanks to the many volunteers that visit the orphanage each year. Mostly it’s young people from whole Europe. Requirements to volunteer in the orphanage come down to being over 18 and accepting vegetarian food for the time of staying. They do gardening, collecting and sorting out the food, guiding the visitors, maintaining the fences and trails, etc…

These fantastic young people are proud of making Kuterevo - The Galaxy Of Peace.

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If you are in the area, make sure you give them a visit.

Cheers,
Nino.

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such majestic animals! great shots nkera!

Thanks man,
It's a treat to see them so close, in an enviroment much closer to their natural habitat. Zoos are so steril in comparison with this...

I'd like to see them from close in they natural environment. I will definitely check this out ;)

Driving through Lika's local roads is also a major part of the experience ;)

With a bike or car, right? Yea, adventure :)