T he valuable habitats in the extreme south of the peninsula have been formed under the influence of man. For centuries, people have strived to adapt nature to themselves, thus creating a range of different habitats that make up the backbone of biodiversity, such as dry Mediterranean grasslands and ponds.
Environmental protection does not exclude human activity, so that traditional agriculture is one of the foundations for the preservation of the Mediterranean landscapes.
I n the area of Lower Kamenjak near the entrance point there is a pond, which was restored in 2015.
Ponds are small, closed freshwater habitats. Most of the ponds have been created under the influence of man. They were mostly built in the bottom of the valleys to collect water. The ground used to be prepared in a way that cattle with their hooves trampled the grass transforming it into sludge, that is, an impermeable layer that held rainwater in. In the Istrian history, ponds were the only source of water and were used for irrigation, fire fighting, washing clothes, livestock watering, etc.
Ponds have been created by man and nature turned them into homes to numerous plant and animal species, such as amphibians and reptiles. The disappearance of ponds, caused by backfilling and drainage, either due to natural causes or human activity, and their pollution is a major loss for nature and man, not only because of their importance in terms of biodiversity, but also because of their cultural and historical role in the life of the local people.
I strian ox is very important for the historical and cultural heritage of the Istrian peninsula. This breed of cattle is adapted to the characteristics of the Istrian peninsula and prefers a combination of low grazing vegetation, by which it directly participates in the maintenance of habitats.
In the past, it used to be a working ox, while today it is mostly raised for meat production. People used to use this breed for ploughing and carrying loads up until the industrialisation of livestock production. Today, the Istrian ox is a protected breed of cattle in the Republic of Croatia and the Public Institution of Kamenjak supports the raising of this breed in order to preserve habitats. A very important tool for forming and preserving landscape in Croatia is precisely the raising of this traditional breed in the open.
Since 2012, the Institution has been supporting cattle raising and a corral for keeping cattle has been constructed on Kamenjak, where you can see and learn about this quiet observer of the historical changes in Istria.