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Croatian Fauna 2011 - Set

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Stamp Booklet
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Technical details
  • 15.03.2011
  • Tomislav Vlainić,designer, Split
  • Zrinski - Čakovec
  • Multicolor Offset Printing
  • 4 Colours
  • 29,82 x 35,50 mm
  • 0.22, 0.42, 0.62
About 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

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