February the 10th, 2024 – Ever gone sailing in Croatia and spotted a friendly dolphin swimming along your sailboat, occasionally hopping out of the water? Here’s how to report your sighting.
As Nikolina Demark writes, dolphin sightings are relatively common in Croatian waters, especially in the Lošinj archipelago where the population of some 200 dolphins is observed and tracked by the Blue World Institute.
If you’re heading to the Croatian coast this summer and happen to spot a dolphin while island hopping, you can now log the sighting with the help of a handy app named CroDolphin Little.
The app was developed by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb to allow for simple and quick reporting of marine mammal sightings in the Adriatic, reports Turističke priče. Its primary purpose is to collect data on the population, movements and behaviour of marine mammals in Croatia.
Anyone can help researchers study and protect marine mammal species in Croatian waters by installing the app on their smartphone and logging any sightings of dolphins, whales or Mediterranean monk seals.
The CroDolphin app is easy to use: on the front page, tap ‘I see dolphins’; there’s a separate option to select in the unfortunate case of spotting a wounded or dead dolphin. You will then have to provide some additional information, such as location (GPS or GMaps), the number of animals you’ve seen, species, date and time.
Every sighting report triggers a text message that is sent from the app to the expert team tracking the marine mammal population. The data is also automatically stored in the database that’s open to the public, but for the sake of animal safety, any sightings reported in the last 12 hours aren’t shown on the map.
The app is available for iOS and Android, and requires internet connection for map usage.
All marine mammal species inhabiting the Adriatic, including bottlenose dolphins, are considered endangered and have been protected under Croatian law since the 1990s. It’s forbidden to kill the animals, harass them in any way, or destroy their habitat.
If you spot a dolphin on the Croatian coast, we encourage you to report the sighting, but above all remember to observe and appreciate these wonderful animals from a distance to help keep them safe. Here’s our short guide on how to behave when you see a dolphin, and what to do in case you come across a stranded or injured animal.