Kopački Rit – a wetland home to thousands of biological species

Companies of HEP Group participate in the EU project of bird conservation

The greatest splendour of water and forest greenery in Slavonia and Baranja and their greatest natural jewel is found in the area of Kopački Rit Nature Park. Kopački Rit encompasses the wetland area around the confluence of Drava and Danube rivers near Osijek, and has remained in its natural state since ancient times due to inaccessibility and exposure to flooding. It is one of the largest natural wetlands in Europe, due to which it has been entered in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. Deer are a kind of trademark of Kopački Rit, and there are also wild boars, foxes, martens, and other mammals. They are nevertheless outnumbered by birds, of which there are around 300 different species, including the protected, extremely rare white-tailed eagles and black storks. Depending on the season, the landscape of Kopački Rit changes completely, and thereby also the species of birds inhabiting it.

The abundance of plant and animal life, as well as the beautiful landscape are merely some of the reasons as to why Kopački Rit is attractive to visitors. You can familiarise with the park by riding a tourist train, a ship, a boat, a bicycle, or on foot. One of the most attractive ways to get acquainted with the Park is by riding a boat through two channels, from Veliki Sakadaš Lake – named after the most frequently-met bird species in the Park – in the direction of Danube and Drava rivers, in the company of an expert guide. This form of sightseeing will provide you with the possibility of a more detailed familiarisation with the Park’s flora and fauna.

Considering the increasingly pronounced awareness on the need to protect biodiversity, the question of conservation of our animals in our planet has become more important than ever. One of the greatest threats to wild bird species are electric shocks, due to contact with current conductors and landing on transmission line constructions. The project LIFE Danube Free Sky, funded by the LIFE programme of the European Union, is aimed at these threats and represents a unique example of broad transnational collaboration alongside one of the most important migration corridors, the stopping point and winter dwelling of many bird species in Europe – Danube River. In the area of Croatia, the project LIFE Danube Free Sky will be conducted by three partners: Public Institution Kopački Rit Nature Park and members of HEP Group – Croatian Transmission System Operator and HEP Distribution System Operator, all of which will implement safeguard measures on electrical power infrastructure. The main result of the project will be a significant reduction and partially complete elimination of threats to birds from electrical power infrastructure in the broader area of Kopački Rit Nature Park as one of the ornithologically most significant areas in Croatia.

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