Public Institution Velebit Nature Park
Velebit has long been recognized for its exceptional natural beauty and biodiversity. Within UNESCO’s programme (MAB – Man and Biosphere ), the Velebit Mountain was included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 1978. Three years later the entire Velebit area was designated a nature park. Within it there are two national parks– the Paklenica National Park in the south, and the Northern Velebit National Park in the north.
A surface area of about 2,270 km2 encompasses various karst ridges and sinkholes, barren karst peaks, valleys, and foothill peaks, of which 130 rise above 1,370 m above sea level. In the southern part of Velebit the Cerovac Caves are located, one of the largest cave bear sites in Croatia.
Three large carnivores widely inhabit the area of Velebit – the brown bear, the wolf and the lynx. The otter is also an inhabitant of Velebit. This is also the most important nesting grounds of several bird species – the ortolan bunting, capercaillie, the Eurasian pygmy owl, boreal owl, as well as the white-backed woodpecker. According to existing data, Velebit is home to 1854 registered plant species, of which 79 are endemic. Such a great number of endemic species is why Velebit is often called “the centre of endemism” of this part of Europe.
Whichever educational trail you take in the Nature Park Velebit, among which is Croatian best known Premužić trail, you will enjoy the natural and historical riches of this largest protected area in Croatia.