European Stork Village 2008 - Altreu (Switzerland)
Today by far the largest breeding population in the country can be found in this small hamlet in the parish of Selzach in the canton of Solothurn. Approximately 20% of all the white storks breeding in Switzerland live in this colony. Altreu is now a model for such projects: the feeding of storks ceased in 2004, and the enclosures have meanwhile been abolished. In their place, the focus is now on habitat conservation as the basis for the survival of storks in the cultural landscape. The 1,500 hectare 'Witi' reserve was created, in which the large and
now stable stork population can hunt for food. As a result of this, marshland along the river Aare has been preserved in the midst of the otherwise intensively farmed arable land of the Swiss central plateau. Furthermore, the 'Witi' is an internationally important resting place for waders. The funding of the motorway tunnel under the 'Witi' – the only one in the Swiss lowlands – shows that the conservation of this valuable habitat is being taken very seriously
Nests on: houses and trees (artificial nests)
Stork festival: 2008, regular programme in the information centre
Support measures: rewilding, 1,500 hectare protected area established (Witi)
Partners: Parish of Selzach, Storch Schweiz foundation, Für üsi Witi association
Further details: the colony began 50 years ago as a project to re-introduce storks from the Alsace into Altreu. Later most storks were imported from Algeria. Since 1999, the problematic basis of the introductions programme has been systematically transformed.