Solana Ulcinj – A Ray of Hope for Migratory Birds

The future of the most important resting area for migratory birds at the eastern Adriatic coast was on a knife's edge only until recently. Now, Montenegro's Ministry for Tourism and Sustainable Development has decided to put all of the Solana Ulcinj (except for the buildings and the last brine pit) under nature conservation. Thus, the ecological value of this region is officially recognised.

A welcome guest in the Solana Ulcinj: Eurasian golden plover.

© Anton Laut

A few months ago, the Solana Ulcinj was still for public sale as a building land for a new touristic project to the amount of € 257,8 millions. It seemed as if Montenegro wanted to ruin its unique natural gem for the sake of mass tourism. When the plans of Montenegro's government became public in December 2011, massive protests took place in Europe, which were organised in the country by CZIP, a longtime project partner of EuroNatur. In consequence of the international pressure, Montenegro's government decided in April not to designate the Solana as a tourist region. It is a great success that the 1.500 hectar wide, precious wetlands are now put under nature conservation

The positve turnaround of the government is the result from activities by EuroNatur and its partners for many years, such as the Montenegrin organisation for bird conservation CZIP: already in 2002 EuroNatur and their partners documented in 'black and white' the great ecological value of the Bojana-Buna-Delta with the Solana Ulcinj for the first time, thus providing the necessary arguments to protect this region. After that, EuroNatur drafted a management plan how to successfully protect this area and use its great ecological potential in an environment-friendly way.

EuroNatur helped to raise additional awareness for the Solana Ulcinj by the first Adriatic Flyway Conference in 2009. It was organised in close cooperation with the operating company of the Solana. During an excursion, representatives of significant European institutions for migratory bird conservation learnt firsthand about the great importance of the Solana as a bird resting area; among them were the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), BirdLife International, Europarat, Ramsar Convention and Wetlands International. The Solana Ulcinj is a paradise for ornithologists. In some years up to 200 Eurasian spoonbills and 100 Dalmatian pelicans rest there at the same time. Raptors like ospreys, western honey-buzzards, lesser kestrels, black kites, western marsh-harriers, greater spotted eagles and peregrine falcons are regular guests.

It is now important that from now on the new conservation area is consistently managed. The goal is to turn the Solana's nature jewels into an attraction for nature lovers who visit Ulcinj, thus preserving them permanently. EuroNatur has provided the basis for it.

More about Bojana-Buna-Delta and Solana Ulcinj

Rapid Assessment of the Ecological Value of the Bojana-Buna-Delta (Albania/Montenegro)

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