Protection needed for Amazon of Europe

Wooded river islands in the Drava

On the gravel islands of the Drava birds like the rare Little Ringed Plover find an ideal habitat.

© Martin Schneider-Jacoby
People splashing in the water

Jumping for river protection: Participants of the BIG JUMP at Mura river

© Thomas Hasler

EuroNatur raises awareness of the value of the original river landscapes of the Mura, Drava and Danube


Press release, 14 July 2014

Radolfzell. On the occasion of the second international Amazon of Europe Day last Sunday, the EuronNatur foundation for nature conservation, the Austrian WWF and a number of other partner organisations took the opportunity to raise awareness about the ecological value of the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers and the threats they face. These three rivers and their floodplains connect Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia over their 700km length. “Although the countries along their banks have partly spoken out for strict protection for the Mura, Drava and Danube, the valuable habitats and rare species of these rivers and the adjoining floodplains have not yet been secured for the long term,” warns the head of EuroNatur Gabriel Schwaderer.

It is now two years since the valuable river landscapes between Hungary and Croatia, which make up the lion’s share of the planned Mura Drava Danube Five-Country Biosphere Reserve, were recognised by UNESCO. This success was the result of many years campaigning by EuroNatur and its partners, who have been working for cross-border protection of the rivers since the early 1990s. However, the danger has not yet passed; massive interventions such as gravel extraction, river regulation and plans to build hydropower plants threaten the ecological balance, biodiversity and flood safety along the Mura, Drava and Danube.

“We are resolutely opposed to these destructive plans and we will continue to make every effort to preserve the extraordinary diversity of these river habitats,“ says Schwaderer. EuroNatur and its partners would like to get the local population on board too. As part of the Amazon of Europe Day, there were a number of activities along the banks of the three rivers, which were designed to bring the value of the original river and floodplain landscapes home to the people of the planned Five-Country Biosphere Reserve. For example the campaign group Genuss im Fluss (Revel in the River), the International Committee for the Protection of the River Mura and the WWF organised the BIG JUMP into the river Mura in Halbenrain (Austria)/Apace (Slovenia). Hundreds of water lovers, big and small, jumped into the river at the very same moment.


Background information:

  • EuroNatur and the WWF have been campaigning since the early 1990s to have the Danube Drava Mura cross-border river system protected and preserved by a UNESCO biosphere reserve across five state boundaries. More about the planned Mura Drava Danube UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
  • The Amazon of Europe Day is held every year in memory of EuroNatur project leader Dr Martin Schneider-Jacoby, who campaigned with exceptional commitment for the cross-border protection of the Mura, Drava and Danube until his untimely death in August 2012. More about Dr Martin Schneider-Jacoby 

For further information: EuroNatur, Konstanzer Str. 22, 78315 Radolfzell, Tel.: 07732 - 92 72 24, Fax: 07732 - 92 72 22, E-Mail:, Internet:, Interviews: Romy Durst, Press contact: Angie Rother

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