The Danube - Europe's Blue River
As the second largest river in europe, the Danube connects over 80 million people in 10 countries, provides clean drinking water for more than 20 million people and was and is playing a major role in European history.
Despite its ecological and cultural importance, the river has over the past two hundred years been heavily degraded by human activities. Channelisation, draining of wetlands, cutting of forests, building of dams and pollution through industry and agriculture have damaged the Danube ecosystem badly. The recent floods in August 2002 provide ample evidence how past human interventions increase the risks of such natural phenomena.
Great white pelicans(Pelecanus onocrotalus) in flight, Danube Delta, Ukraine
The Danube delta, off Romania and the Ukraine, is home to the largest colony of pelicans outside Africa.
Two-and-a-half thousand breeding pairs of pelicans arrive every spring in the Danube delta. They're attracted to the 5,000 square kilometre region because it is such an isolated wildlife paradise and the largest reed bed in the world.
The pelicans and other wildlife are protected as part of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. The reserve is supported by WWF, and has areas, like the pelican colony, that are strictly guarded and other areas where traditional fishing can be practiced.