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4th Parks Dinarides study tour began in Tara NP

The fourth study tour organized by WWF within the Dinaric Arc Parks project started on September 3, 2014 by gathering in Tara National Park in Serbia. After familiarizing with Slovenian protected areas two years ago and visits to Macedonian, Kosovari and Montenegrin parks last year, this week participants of the journey will get to know Serbian parks, the territory of future Drina National Park in the Republic of Srpska and the protected areas of Sarajevo area – the Bosnia Well and Bijambara.

We are the bystanders of bad weather conditions, rain and lower temperatures which we have affronted the entire summer. The weather has not fondled us even in this study journey that had to take part in May. Then we were hindered by natural disasters, floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia and the journey was canceled due to weather conditions, but now we have not let the bad weather to hold us down. Even the strong rainshower did not avert us in the walk through Tara National Park.

The Pančić spruce and grasshopper – symbols of Tara National Park

The Park is situated on the half way between Beograd and Sarajevo – 180 kilometers from each side. First we got familiar with the Park through the presentation of Mirjana Josipović from Tara National Park. She said that fog and humidity were characteristic for the Park that had been declared national park in 1981. The Park of the entire area of 19.175 hA is situated amid Tara and Zvezda Mountains that are divided by the River Tara. The entire Park is located in one municipality – Bajina Bašta (translation: Baja's Garden). The Drina Canyon is considered to be the most attractive part of the Park, although there are also two beautiful lakes: Peručac and Zaovina. The highest peak of the Park is 1975 m tall, the lowest peak is 275 m tall and the most significant characteristic of the Park is one of 76 endemic species on the territory: Pančić's spruce in which most of the tales we heard from the representatives of the Park, Marijana Josipović and Milica Tomić, are based upon.

Pančić's grasshopper (the symbol of the Park), bear and chamois are set off among numerous endangered species. From the total of 70 bears located in Serbia, 50 of them have been seen in Tara National Park. Considering natural and cultural heritage, Tara and Mokra Gora are nominated for the crossborder nature reserve of the Drina biosphere and monumental medieval tombstone called 'stećak' in Serbian is nominated for the UNESCO Heritage. The Park has five educational trails, five gazebos, three bicycle trails and a paragliding takeoff path. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to see any of it due to thick fog and rain that followed us during the entire visit. Luckily, we started our journey early enough and the first gazebo took away the breath of the twenty participants of this trip. 

People who work in the Park are proud of the project of monitoring of the brown bear, famous Ogi that we have already mentioned in some of the previous posts on this blog. Along with monitoring of Ogi, monitoring of birds and bats also takes place in the Park. Out of 30 species, 25 species can be found in Tara National Park. One of them is a completely new, recently discovered specie. Milica and Marijana proudly announce the construction of botanical garden that has already started and talk about the Forestry Museum, the first museum of that type in Serbia. It's no wonder that such museum is under construction in Tara National Park in which the authorities of the Park, the Public Institution of Tara National Park that count 203 employees, manage forests in the Park area. 90% of the income is achieved by the Park itself. Forestry is the basis of the Park income and that is why there is only one biolog among the Park staff. The Park is specific because of its complete count, i.e. detailed tree count that is conducted each ten years. Such measurements have been conducted in the park area four times in the entire Park area.

The payment of private persons is accentuated as the biggest problem in the Park. Employees of the Park claim that the payment of companies is not such a problem because they manage to charge everything that belongs to them and settle all the debts after lawsuits. However, the procedure with owners and guests of vacation homes is quite more difficult... In the end, payments cover barely 10% of the entire income.

Petra Boić Petrač, WWF

Toward nature, JP National park Tara