Hunting Dog Rescued: A Lucky Escape

Published in About Animals

The hunting season on Hvar lasts from October to January, the busy season for hunting dogs.

A sorry sight, but safe. A sorry sight, but safe. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

On Sundays and Wednesdays, from early morning to mid-afternoon, hunting dogs can be heard barking and yapping as they search out the prey for their owners to shoot. The hunting grounds are signposted here and there, but in fact extend pretty well over the whole island, so it's not wise to go walking in the countryside during the hunting hours.

Hunting ground sign. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Quite often, hunting dogs remain out and about after the end of the hunting day. While the well-trained dogs generally return to their owners on command, young dogs or those which are new to the island may not be as disciplined. The owners usually notify the local gamekeeper (čuvar lovišta, lovočuvar) that their dog is still loose, otherwise there is a risk that the dog will be shot if it is disturbing the hunting grounds out of hours. Other hunters are also asked to keep a lookout, so that the dog can be returned as quickly as possible. GPS tracker collars are a godsend in the owner's search for a missing dog. When the dog is micro-chipped, the owner can be identified , but this does mean the finder has to get the dog to the local vet or town warden (komunalni redar) to get the chip read. This system doesn't work if the micro-chip details are incomplete or not up to date. Dogs which are not micro-chipped are a problem, but because hunting dogs are a valuable commodity, the owner usually turns up when word gets around that a lost hunting dog has been found.

It's easy for dogs to get lost in Hvar's dense woodlands. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

The best-case scenarios: the loose dog is found, or finds its way home in the shortest possible time, within a day or two of going missing. Worst-case scenarios for roaming dogs include: raiding chicken runs or sheep pens for food; killing cats; collapsing from exhaustion, especially in warmer weather; getting trapped in dense undergrowth; or falling into pools or water tanks and drowning. A dog whose owner has failed to feed it properly is more likely to go for the chickens or other animals, and is also at risk of dying of hunger and/or thirst if it cannot find sources of food and water during a prolonged period in the wild. Sad to say, some hunters, especially in the older generation, give their dogs less than enough to subsist on, especially outside the hunting season.

Not long after the hunting season started in October 2020, one Sunday evening a dog could be heard barking in the hillside above Gornje Pitve, the village where Eco Hvar is based. As usual, for the first few days no-one was worried. However, the barking continued, becoming more insistent day and night, and seeming to come from the same place. After more than a week it was clear something was wrong. Was the dog incapacitated, trapped or tied up somewhere? Eco Hvar supporter Susanne, who lives in Austria and has a house in Gornje Pitve, decided to find out during her regular walk with her own dog Poli.

Susanne and Poli in Jelsa. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Poli is no stranger to rescues, having been rescued herself with her mother and siblings from somewhere near Dubrovnik, by the Graz-based Austrian charity 'N&N helping Dogs', which specializes in saving strays in eastern European countries. Having captivated Susanne's heart, Poli now lives a joyful life of ease between Austria and Dalmatia.

The search lasted two days, because on the first day the barking stopped for several hours before Susanne and Poli could identify the source. Success came on the second day some time after noon, when Susanne and Poli managed to find their way to a pit, about a metre and a half deep, where a shaggy dog was trapped, too far down to be reached without a ladder. The pit was almost inaccessible, a long way from the normal path, and hidden in dense undergrowth. To reach it Susanne and Poli had to clamber down to cross the dry river-bed, then up on to the opposite side, where they had to negotiate a long stretch of very unfriendly terrain.

Trapped. Photo: S.P.

Having found the dog, which seemed to be in good spirits and apparently unharmed, Susanne organized the next stage of the rescue by phoning me and sending pictures of the dog and its surroundings. I then contacted Hvar's gamekeeper Tonči Batoš, who called on the Fire Brigade to lend a hand. Jelsa's chief Fire Officer Roman Radonić, himself a resident of Pitve, immediately abandoned his lunch and we drove out of the village until we could see Susanne waiting patiently for us on the other side of the riverbed, where she could be seen from the road.

Susanne waited over an hour for help to arrive. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

She had waited there for over an hour while we organized the rescue, as she was afraid that she wouldn't be able to find the place again if she left the territory. It would have been impossible to find without her guidance. Armed with his ladder, Roman climbed down the drops in the riverbed, while Susanne made her way through the undergrowth back to the stricken dog's location, which was not visible from the road.

Roman armed with his ladder. Photo: Vivian Grisogono
Roman climbing up to the dog's location. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Once there, in a trice Roman had gone down into the pit and handed the dog up to Susanne, who then threaded her way back through the undergrowth leading the two dogs to the place where the riverbed could be crossed without a ladder. As the walls of the riverbed were slippery, Roman sprang across to relieve her of the dogs. The rescue dog proved to be a coarse-haired Istrian hound, tired, hungry, probably shocked by her ordeal, but glad to be rescued, and physically uninjured.

Enjoying the grass after the rescue. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Removed to a safe place, she ate well and slept soundly.

Eating heartily after the rescue. Photo: Vivian Grisogono
Basking in the sun the next day. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Her white coat was masked by several layers of dirt and matted fur. Eco Hvar supporter Sara Radonić, a qualified dog groomer, spent four hours over two days restoring her to respectability.

Sara volunteered four hours of grooming to the unkempt fur. Photo: Vivian Grisogono.

The dog's owner contacted us as soon as he heard that his Dijana had been found, saving us the trouble of having her micro-chip read. He had been searching for her for ten days, and was grateful to have her returned clean, fit and well. He told us that Dijana frequently went missing once she was out hunting, unlike his other hounds, and this was confirmed by Stari Grad vet Dr. Prosper Vlahović. Fortunately, her owner obviously fed her well, otherwise she would have been in a much worse state after ten days stuck in the pit. Even so, one wonders how much longer she could have survived without food and water.

Happy to be free! Photo: Vivian Grisogono

The Eco Hvar team is, of course, delighted with the outcome of this successful rescue. Given that it is by no means rare for hunting dogs to go roaming, we hope this experience will encourage more hunters to fit their dogs with GPS collars, so that finding them doesn't involve so much detective work.

Susanne with Dijana, with the hillside where Dijana got lost in the background. Photo: Vivian Grisogono
Saviours: Susanne with Poli, relaxing, mission accomplished! Photo: Vivian Grisogono

© Vivian Grisogono 2020

You are here: Home about animals Hunting Dog Rescued: A Lucky Escape

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Not a single waterway in England or Northern Ireland in good overall health, according to Rivers Trust

    The rivers of Britain and Ireland are in a desperate state from the impact of pollution, with not a single waterway in England or Northern Ireland listed as being in good overall health, a report said on Monday.

    The Rivers Trust annual State of Our Rivers report reveals that the impact of pollution from treated and untreated sewage and agricultural and industrial runoff means rivers are in a worse condition than ever.

    Continue reading...

  • Population has spread from small area of East Anglia to become established in Cambridgeshire, Kent and Herefordshire

    A rare dragonfly is no longer considered endangered after spreading its wings across England, but conservationists have said its wetland habitat is still at risk from climate breakdown.

    The Norfolk hawker, known for its bright green eyes and golden body, went extinct from the Cambridgeshire Fens in 1893 and became confined to east Norfolk and east Suffolk. It is thought this was caused by the draining of its preferred habitat of ponds and marshes for agriculture over the centuries. It has since been almost entirely restricted to the Norfolk Broads.

    Continue reading...

  • When it comes to reducing your clothes shopping’s carbon footprint, it might be tempting to abandon ecommerce for bricks-and-mortar retail. But the solution is not so simple

    Packages arrive at my house more than I’d like to admit. Whether they contain cosmetics, swimwear, T-shirts or socks, the sight of a brown cardboard box makes me feel two things: excitement for the new thing and guilt over its environmental impacts.

    Often the packaging feels excessive: boxes inside bigger boxes, things wrapped in bubble wrap or corrugated cardboard. And while compostable satchels are becoming more common, they’re not perfect solutions.

    Continue reading...

  • Fears for penguin colonies after the discovery of the highly contagious H5N1 virus in two dead skuas

    Bird flu has reached mainland of Antarctica for the first time, officials have confirmed.

    The H5N1 virus was found on Friday in two dead scavenging birds called skuas near Primavera Base, the Argentinian scientific research station on the Antarctic peninsula.

    Continue reading...

  • Warm spell in northern and central areas will make way for icy blast this week

    A sharp swing in temperatures has been forecast across northern and central parts of the US this week, with potentially record-breaking warm weather giving way to a cold front.

    Wisconsin is likely to challenge its all-time February high on Tuesday with a forecast of 17C (63F) – 0.5C above the record set at Stevens Point in 2000. The warm spell is likely to be short lived, however. On Tuesday evening a broad area of low pressure will bring heavy rain before a surge of cold air turns rain into snow as the temperature dips to zero.

    Continue reading...

  • Hundreds of tractors arrived in Brussels Monday and more are on their way as European Union agriculture ministers meet to address farmers' concerns. It follows weeks of protests by farmers across the EU. Farmers are demanding the reversal of progressive measures to counter climate change and protect biodiversity, arguing that the rules are harming their livelihoods and strangling them with red tape

    Continue reading...

  • Biodiversity campaigner Isabella Tree says wild areas work ‘hand in glove’ with food production as her Sussex estate boasts return of endangered species

    The Knepp estate in West Sussex is home to the first white stork born in the wild in Britain for over 600 years. It’s a place where endangered bats, turtle doves and nightingales are thriving, where “officially extinct” large tortoiseshell butterflies are breeding and where tens of thousands of people visit each year to experience “a story of hope” about the resilience of nature in the face of the global climate emergency.

    There have been many exciting changes at Knepp since 2018, when Isabella Tree wrote Wilding, her award-winning book about rewilding an unprofitable 3,500-acre arable and dairy farm. Now she has written a captivating illustrated book, Wilding: How to Bring Wildlife Back – An Illustrated Guide,updating her readers about extraordinary developments at Knepp and offering practical advice about rewilding their own spaces, however small.

    Continue reading...

  • Caistor St Edmund, Norfolk: As breeding season begins in the unseasonably mild weather, I’m transfixed by a local find – a meteorite

    I am holding a meteorite in my hand when something plummets to the ground just a couple of metres from my feet. I step back, trying to puzzle out what it is. At first, it’s just a brown, writhing shape, but then it fragments into three birds – house sparrows. One pings off into the sky, leaving a female pinned down by a male.

    Courtship often begins with a bobbing display dance from the male, but it can turn into a rough and tumble chase like this, sometimes with several males pursuing one female. This might be followed by mating. Seconds later, they both fly up from the ground and vanish out of sight.

    Continue reading...

  • Near flooding of Henley-on-Thames building prompts decision to tell the story of climate crisis

    From the reconstructed riverside of The Wind in the Willows to an historic Georgian rowboat used in the inaugural Oxford-Cambridge race, the exhibits at the River and Rowing Museum celebrate the importance of British rivers.

    But the award-winning building in Henley-on-Thames – designed by the modernist architect David Chipperfield – is facing a significant threat from the very river beside which it resides.

    Continue reading...

  • Charity says the decline of invertebrates linked to chemicals in water while Environment Agency said Wiltshire river had not deteriorated


    A citizen science programme has revealed the decline of one of the country’s most significant chalk streamsafter claims by Environment Agency officials that it had not deteriorated. The SmartRivers programme run by the charity WildFish, which surveys freshwater invertebrates, reported “strong declines in relation to chemical pressure” on the River Avon in Wiltshire. It said its data indicated a decline in the condition of the river over the last five years.

    The charity compiled a report on its findings after the conservation groups say they were told at a meeting by the Environment Agency in August that “the Avon has not deteriorated in water quality in the last five years”. David Holroyd, head of water quality for Wiltshire Fishery Association, said the numbers of invertebrates collected in spring and autumn samples from 2019 and 2023 at 11 sites on the upper Avon had shown a decline.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds

  • It’s easy to understand why ambitious reforestation campaigns capture public attention. Earth’s forests are absolutely vital to staving off a climate crisis and protecting nature. But what about grasslands?

  • It’s a simple formula: More women in science equals more impactful and innovative science.

    Studies have found that scientific teams made up of women and men produce better research. Yet, of course, a persistent gender gap remains. Women make up about a third of the workforce in science, technology, engineering and math. And while there has been some progress in recent decades, it’s uneven. If current trends hold, it could take more than a century for women to be equally represented in fields like physics, math and engineering.

    For International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we are highlighting some of the women who power the science behind Conservation International’s work — changing conservation practices and informing critical policy decisions. Here, they share their passion for protecting nature — and their advice for the next generation of women scientists.

     

    Shannon Murphy

    Marine biologist, seascapes program manager, United States

    © Mark Erdmann

    What does it take to be successful in a STEM career?

    You need to be passionate about what you do. Always be open minded and listen to others.

    What do you love about your job?

    I love that I get to work with people around the world — I learn something new every day and I’m never bored.

    As a woman in STEM, what advice would you give to your younger self?

    Be kinder to yourself and have confidence that you deserve to be in the room.

     

    Anna Jean Haw

    Africa Rangelands Program manager, South Africa

    © Tom Kiptenai-Kemboi

    What does it take to be successful in a STEM career?

    Keep your eyes open to opportunities and be clear on your values. You may not know your exact career path, but if you have clear values and passion, you will find a fulfilling journey — and it’s all about the journey.

    What do you love about your job?

    I love grappling with challenges and collaborating to find innovative solutions to complex problems. There is always more to learn and discover, especially in the natural world. Science and learning are a lifelong gift.

    As a woman in STEM, what advice would you give to your younger self?

    Don’t be afraid to shine…or fail. Find other women in STEM who can provide a supportive peer group to help you celebrate your successes and challenge you to do the hard stuff.

     

    Ret Thaung

    Wildlife conservationist and biodiversity manager, Cambodia

    © Kouy Socheat

    What does it take to be successful in a STEM career?

    Seek out mentors and collaborators who support your growth — and, especially, never stop learning.

    What do you love about your job?

    I have the opportunity to engage with local communities and the younger generation, fostering a shared commitment to protecting our natural world. The experiences I’ve had in deep forests, places few people have the chance to visit, are truly special.

    As a woman in STEM, what advice would you give to your younger self?

    Be confident that you are enough and capable of doing great things. Take up space and don’t afraid to make connections with people who inspire you.

     

    Remesa Lang

    Forestry engineer, development and communications coordinator, Suriname

    © Devika Narain

    What does it take to be successful in a STEM career?

    Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty and think outside the box. Never underestimate yourself. Embrace the challenges, be willing to take risks and trust in your ability to overcome obstacles.

    What do you love about your job?

    I love contributing to brainstorming sessions to develop new ideas. I have a genuine passion for learning and embrace the role of a multitasker.

    As a woman in STEM, what advice would you give to your younger self?

    If you have a dream in mind, you must pursue it and believe that you can achieve it. Don't be afraid to try new things. Embrace the journey with confidence and determination.

     

    Luciano Andriamaro

    Senior Director Science and Knowledge, Madagascar

    © Luciano Andriamaro

    What does it take to be successful in a STEM career?

    Love what you do and don’t hesitate to start small. As you progress, step by step, you will begin to see the value of the efforts you've made.

    What do you love about your job?

    In my 22 years at Conservation International, I have gone from coordinator, to technical manager, to senior director of science and knowledge in Madagascar. I work with a multidisciplinary team, and it is always a pleasure to learn from my colleagues. I am proud of the women on my team and I encourage them to do new things.

    As a woman in STEM, what advice would you give to your younger self?

    You need patience, perseverance and conviction to know you’re on the right path. Have keep the courage to continue and always be optimistic that you will reach your goal.

     

    Elle Wibisono

    Fisheries scientist and policy fellow, Indonesia 

    © OceanX

    What does it take to be successful in a STEM career?

    Be curious and always challenge your own assumptions.

    What do you love about your job?

    I get to learn new things all the time and meet the most brilliant (and fun) people.

    As a woman in STEM, what advice would you give to your younger self?

    You can still be a scientist even though you feel inadequate as an undergraduate! Sometimes, even our brains are late bloomers.

     

    Cecilia Gutierrez

    Forestry engineer, social impact manager, Peru

    © Humberto Saco

    What does it take to be successful in a STEM career?

    Adaptability, teamwork and ethics.

    What do you love about your job?

    Traveling to different countries and having the chance to see more than the typical tourist places — seeing “real” places and people that I otherwise would not know; experiencing their culture, their day-to-day living and the way they think.

    As a woman in STEM, what advice would you give to your younger self?

    Don't be afraid of trying. Just by trying you will feel more empowered and will gain a lot.

     

    Virginia Simpson

    Community conservation specialist and program manager, Australia

    © Virginia Simpson

    What does it take to be successful in a STEM career? 

    Similar to what it takes to be successful in any career: tenacity, leaps of faith, and the willingness to learn and to back yourself as needed!

    What do you love about your job?

    The fact that I get to work on something that matters to me — and do it alongside such an amazing global team of people.

    As a woman in STEM, what advice would you give to your younger self?

    Know the worth of your skill set, and don’t go around comparing it unfavorably to other people’s.

     

    María Claudia Díazgranados Cadelo

    Marine biologist, senior director for the Blue Carbon program, Colombia

    © María Claudia Díazgranados Cadelo

    What does it take to be successful in a STEM career?

    You need to learn to understand people's different ways of working — to have patience and tolerance for the different situations that arise with colleagues and with external partners. We are all different, but those differences can enrich the work and make it more successful.

    What do you love about your job?

    I love the team I'm on, especially my supervisor whom I admire a lot. I like to try new things in places that need our work. Even though it is very complex, I know we are going to succeed in what we do. The challenges are interesting.

    As a woman in STEM, what advice would you give to your younger self?

    Few people put their heart and soul into what they do. But that doesn’t change the love and passion you put into every seed of a project or idea you plant at work. You will surely see many trees grow big and strong over the years.

     

    Carter Smith

    Wildlife ecologist, Sojourns program director, United States

    © Judy Holme Agnew

    What does it take to be successful in a STEM career? 

    Hard work, a few bruises and dedication. 

    What do you love about your job?

    So many things; I pinch myself a lot. One thing I love is that my role offers a continual learning curve. If I ever get bored, that’s all on me. There’s lots to learn thanks to vast nature of Conservation International’s work around the globe. 

    As a woman in STEM, what advice would you give to your younger self?

    Don’t be dissuaded by closed doors. Believe.  Really truly. It is half the battle. And never lose your sense of humor.

     

    Ana Guzman

    Biologist, executive director of the Costa Rica program, Costa Rica

    © Ana Guzman

    What does it take to be successful in a STEM career?

    Success can take many shapes, but for me it means achieving your goals, being happy with your decisions and having no regrets.

    What do you love about your job?

    I love being a bridge between science and people — to advance actions that have a positive impact on local communities and witness the joy that comes from helping others.

    As a woman in STEM, what advice would you give to your younger self?

    Trust yourself, you know what’s best for you. It might not be the path people expected you to take but it will be the one you made for yourself. Own it!

     

    Natasha Calderwood

    Senior director carbon portfolio, United States

    © Natasha Calderwood

    What does it take to be successful in a STEM career?

    Remain curious and open-minded. Be prepared to challenge others’ views and think about how to apply your own learnings and experience in a different light. STEM careers help drive so much innovation in the world today but sometimes the best solution to a problem can be found by re-framing a tried and tested approach.

    What do you love about your job?

    Getting to work on a daily basis with people who are passionate, smart, authentic and driven to find solutions to our world’s toughest challenges.

    As a woman in STEM, what advice would you give to your younger self?

    Find what you are passionate about! If you love what you do the rest will come. Along the way don’t be afraid to experience different things, try out new skills and stretch outside of your comfort zone.

     

    Susan Vulpas

    Coastal ecologist, Indonesia program development advisor, Indonesia

    © Susan Vulpas

    What does it take to be successful in a STEM career?

    I think it means making strategic decisions about your job and being honest about the career you want to have and taking steps to get there. (I feel like I'm still working towards my ideal STEM career).

    What do you love about your job?

    That's an easy one. Field work is the best; it nurtures passion while keeping us motivated and connected to our conservation goals. I love being in the water in Indonesia, chatting with the field teams and partners, and experiencing the amazing places we are working to protect.

    As a woman in STEM, what advice would you give to your younger self?

    Believe that you have a place in STEM and keep working towards the career you want to have. Also keep learning from people whose work you find interesting.

     

    Vanessa Bauza is the editorial director at Conservation International. Want to read more stories like this? Sign up for email updates here. Donate to Conservation International here.

  • In the remote lowland forests of northwestern Bolivia, a small community has taken a big step to protect one of the Amazon’s most biodiverse regions.

  • When humans and elephants come into contact, the results can be deadly — and if climate change and habitat loss continue, a new study finds, things could get even worse.

  • Not long ago, the idea that nature could be humanity's ally against climate change was not widely known. In recent years that idea has increasingly moved into the mainstream. Perhaps unsurprisingly, that recognition has led to some confusion.

  • While it may seem unusual for a medical doctor to work for a conservation nonprofit, it's centered on a powerful premise: that human health and the protection of nature are inextricably linked.

  • This week, the United Nations holds its first global freshwater conference in nearly 50 years. In the years since, the global population has doubled — yet the challenges facing the health of, and access to, freshwater resources have been largely overshadowed by the climate and biodiversity crises.

  • Until self-quarantine ends, here are new shows, podcasts and more that can help bring nature to life for you, wherever you are.

  • In a recent article, the director of Conservation International's Indigenous and Traditional Peoples Program explained why the COVID-19 pandemic affirms the need to respect the rights of Indigenous peoples.

  • Despite dire headlines, tropical forests are still among our best allies to fight climate change, an expert explains.