Some people are able to live and breathe a Marine Protected Area at all times. These are the park’s guardian angels, better known as… rangers! We asked Jelena Matokovic to guide us through a typical day in the fabulous Lastovo Islands Nature Park in Croatia, talking with local people and tourists and revealing her favorite things about this marine beauty.
Can you recall your first visit to the MPA and what your initial feelings and impressions were?
Well, I visited Lastovo island before it was declared a Nature Park and I remember thinking that I had never seen such an intense combination of deep blue sea and thick forests seamlessly merging at the surface of the water... One can immediately sense that it is something special. With its natural beauty, resources and cultural heritage you need no more than a day to begin to understand the huge potential that this place holds.
Could you explain the duties and activities of your role as MPA Head Ranger?
I lead and coordinate the surveillance service of the Park in our daily duties, basically implementing provisions of the Nature Protection Law and the Institution’s Internal Rule book. Together with rangers I make sure that we carry out a wide range of activities of benefit to the local community and visitors to the Park: promotion, information, maintenance of the walking and cycling paths, visitors’ safety, emergency response, fire fighting and many other things.