2nd of February – Wetlands Day!
World Wetlands Day, which started being celebrated internationally in 1997, offers us the great occasion for making the outstanding protected area, Meadow of Bârsa River, more popular.
The area was declared as NATURA 2000 site in January 2016 and has a surface of 53 hectares (0.204 square miles).
This sector of Bârsa River meadow was noticed for the first time by one of AECN’s founders (Liviu UNGUREANU) in 2013 during the evaluation of beaver population, which surprisingly coincided with the discovery of the first beaver colony in Romania (formed back then of two large families). At the moment the colony contains four beaver families that created a wetland of approximately 7 hectares (0.027 square miles) by accumulating water from subterrane springs and building dams. Now, this land is not used only by beavers, but also by other species of insects, fishes, birds, amphibians and mammals. On the whole surface of the protected area 11 beaver dens were found. Thus it was estimated that a number of 35 beavers live there, out of which 20 form the colony.
The largest beaver den in Romania (12x10,5 meters and more than 2 meters high; 39,3x34.4 feet and more than 6.5 feet high)
The zone is unique due to the meadow forest (circa 35 hectares/ 0.135 square miles) formed predominantly of willows and alders.
Other important species that can be found here are: Eurasian otter, European wildcat, Mediterranean barbel, bullhead, kingfisher, purple heron, grey heron, black-crowned night-heron, different duck species. The area is appreciated by species of ungulates too, such as roe deer and wild boar, being an oasis in the middle of the Bârsa depression.
The conservation of these protected areas needs human and financial implication for combating the main threats that may occur: the polluation with household garbage, illegal deforestation, the insuficient imformation which the local population is provided with, grazing/hunting which disturbs the terrestial fauna and the high turbidity that affects severely the protected fish species.
Written by: Claudiu Pașca,
Biologist and Conservation Scientist