Where the Dalmatian Pelican meets the Prespa Sneep

© Martin Schneider-Jacoby
© Martin Schneider-Jacoby

The Prespa-Ohrid Lakelands

In the triangle where Albania, Greece and Macedonia meet lies an impressively beautiful and varied  landscape of lakes and mountains: the Prespa-Ohrid region. During the Cold War it was almost inaccessible but today it is counted among the most ecologically precious sections of the European Green Belt in the Balkans. Nestling between gently rolling hills, picturesque limestone cliffs with their caves and mountain massifs soaring to 2 000 metres (or six and a half thousand feet) Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa shine in an almost unreal blue.

Refuge for rare species
A considerable number of endemic species, i.e. species peculiar to this habitat, live near and in the lakes. In the two Prespa lakes alone there are seven endemic fish species among them the Prespa trout, the Prespa Sneep or Nase and the Prespa Barbel. In winter and during the migratory season huge flocks of migrating birds use the lakes as a resting place. Also birds that are threatened with extinction worldwide, such as the Dalmatian Pelican and the Pygmy Cormorant, still breed here in large numbers and benefit from the extraordinary wealth of fish in the lakes.

Danger through intensive land and lake use
Despite this ecological wealth there is damage which cannot be ignored. The heavy use of pesticides in farming impacts water and soil, rubbish is often dumped in the countryside and because there is no overall land use planning concrete blocks are springing up all over the place. The greatest dangers are however overfishing of the lakes, intensive irrigation of farmlands and overgrazing. EuroNatur has been fighting since 1993 for the protection of this unique region. Working with local and international partners we have managed to achieve the designation of areas as nature reserves such as the Prespa National Park in Albania and have worked to support an ecologically sustainable development of the region.

>>Read more about the EuroNatur projects in the Prespa-Ohrid region


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