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SUMMARY: In tribute to the 30thanniversary of the successful reintroduction of chamois in northern
Velebit, the first part of the article presents the monograph “Chamois”, written by the forester
Milan Knežević and published in Sarajevo 70 years ago (1938). The book, based on the author’s own
study of the Balkan chamois subspecies and imbued with love of the true hunter for the game, has not
lost any of its significance and interest. The second part of the article is dedicated to the life and work
of Milan Knežević (Bihać, 1879 – Zavidovići, 1944), an exceptionally talented game writer. He graduated
from the Forestry Department of Technical High School in Sarajevo in 1898. Shortly after passing
the state exam in 1911, he became a forest administration manager and worked in a number of
forest offices across Bosnia and Herzegovina. From 1925 to 1935 he was in charge of the hunting and
fishing department within the Forestry Directorate in Sarajevo. This period of his life, marked by his
passionate love for hunting, nature and wildlife, proved to be the most fruitful. Despite his rough life,
frequent dismissals from the service and the inability to affirm himself as an intellectual, he was a prolific
hunting writer. In addition to the monograph “Chamois” and a number of articles published in
Zagreb-based “Hunting-Fishing Journal”, he succeeded in completing, in cooperation with his son
Ratko Knežević, his most valuable work “The Wolf – Life, Harmfulness and Extermination”, which
was only published in 1956 by the Institute of Forestry and Wood Industry of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The last part of the article deals with the successful reintroduction of chamois in northern Velebit.
Organized by the Republic Institute for Nature Protection in Zagreb and Forest Administration in
Senj, the reintroduction was conducted on two occasions: the first time in the autumn of 1974 with 9
introduced chamois from Prenj (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and the second time four years later, on 10
October 1978, with 5 adult animals from the Kamnik Alps (Slovenia). The newly established population
inhabiting the National Park of Northern Velebit and the hunting grounds “Sveti Juraj” and
“Jablanac” is estimated at about 400 animals and is subjected to game management (hunting).
However, despite these encouraging numbers, we cannot be satisfied with the current status of
chamois in Croatia from the game hunting aspect. In the Croatian part of the Dinaric mountain range,
from Gorski Kotar to the hinterland of Dubrovnik, there are vast areas that are very suitable for successful
breeding of chamois; yet, these areas are completely under-utilized in this respect. According
to some calculations made by competent experts who are thoroughly acquainted with the conditions in
the terrain, about 70,000 ha would suffice for successful chamois breeding programes on Mt. Velebit.
The major part of this area is chamois habitat of the first site class. In terms of animal number, this
area could support about two thousand chamois, with an annual income of 480 animals and harvest of
250 animals (C a r, 1972). The same number of chamois that were released in northern Velebit should
also be released in central and southern Velebit for this purpose (Mikulić, 1982).
Key words:Milan Knežević, monograph “Chamois”, reintroduction of chamois, northern