Wetlands are hotspots of biodiversity and provide a myriad of benefits and services, including flood protection, drinking water, food, fuel and recreation.
Despite this, the Danube, which is the European Union’s longest river, has seen 80% of its floodplains and wetlands disappear over the past 150 years. Damage has mainly been caused by diking, dredging and damming, which has taken place for a number of reasons, including the need for hydroelectric power, shipping and flood protection.
Over 80 million people live in the 19 countries that the Danube drains. Of these, 20 million rely directly on the river for drinking water.
Living Danube Tour
WWF’s Living Danube Tour is travelling throughout our region to raise public awareness on the value of rivers and wetlands and what we need to do to conserve them.
Each summer, the educational show visits various towns in Central and Eastern European countries like Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia.
Visitors hear stories about river inhabitants like the ancient sturgeon, white pelican and white-tailed eagle, about what keeps rivers healthy and what destroys their balance, thus putting species and people at risk by depleting water resources and reducing flood protection and food. They also learn about the specific restoration work undertaken by WWF in their country with the help of Coca-Cola funding.
Meanwhile, children play interactive games and learn about the difficulties river inhabitants face in their daily lives, like pollution and migration barriers, and what WWF and they, themselves, can do to help animals and plants survive. They also order a giant puzzle representing Danube species and answer questions about them. The ones who do best are awarded badges and stickers.
Partnership for a Living Danube
The Living Danube Tour is part of the Living Danube partnership between WWF, The Coca-Cola Company and the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River.