Europe’s Natura 2000 Network… as the Black storks see it | WWF

Europe’s Natura 2000 Network… as the Black storks see it

Posted on
02 September 2005
Brussels, Belgium – WWF-Belgium and the European Commission officially launched their project ‘Flying over Natura 2000’ today. All through September and October, Black Storks – the project’s ambassadors- will be followed during their migration will send "postcards" to the televisions of 12 European countries. The objective of the project is to make Natura 2000 (the European network of protected areas) better known to the European public.
The ‘Flying over Natura 2000’ [link removed] project will enable millions of European citizens to learn more about the network of protected areas initiated by the UE, through the migration of a number of Black Storks fitted with satellite radio transmitters.

From the beginning of September up to the end of October, the birds migrate over Europe towards their hibernating grounds in Africa. They follow two main migration routes, one across the Strait of Gibraltar to reach Western Africa, the second across the Bosphorus in route to Eastern Africa. 
The storks originate from eight different member States (Estonia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Spain, Luxemburg, France, and Belgium). Thanks to the satellite radio transmitters, their movements across Europe will be followed on a daily basis and reported onto a map that can be downloaded from the project’s website [link removed]. 

Everyday during 20 days, the storks will be sending a "postcard" -under the form of a special one-minute video clip- to the televisions in the countries that take part to the project. The birds’ journeys will so enable Europeans to learn more about famous or, on the contrary, poorly known nature areas all across the continent such as the moorlands of Latvia or the mythical Bialowiecza Forest in Poland, but also about other European flagship species such as the Iberian Lynx, the Griffon Vulture or the Freshwater Pearl Mussel.

The project will also enable Europeans to better understand the specific vocation of Natura 2000: a network of natural areas for the benefit of Man as much as Nature.
The ‘Flying over Natura 2000’ project, financed by the European Commission, fits into the objectives of Natura 2000: this network of protected areas has been developed according to the European Union’s Birds and Habitats Directives, with the aim of conserving threatened natural habitats and species in all Member States. The network currently covers about 15 per cent of the EU’s territory.
"Natura 2000 is not just a network of nature reserves that would protect Nature against Man. The concept aims more at safeguarding or enhancing specific human ways of life compatible with the conservation of the nature. Sheepherding in mountain areas, ecotourism, sustainable forest management, a rational use of the coastal and freshwater ecosystems can help to ensure the succes of this initiative.
Today, most Europeans are still not aware that 15 per cent of EU’s territory have a better chance to develop in harmony with Nature. And this is exactly what the storks could show them", declared Geoffroy De Schutter, in charge of the project. 

• Videos are available via Europe by Satellite

For more information: 
Anne Bellens, Press Contact
Tel: +32 2 340 09 92
Mobile: +32 498 905 951
Geoffroy De Schutter, responsible for the project
Tel: +32 2 340 09 45
Mobile: +32 497 20 30 34
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