Nature's havens on the Danube
Zsolt Kudich and Réka Zsirmon, Hungarian nature photographers, worked together on a visual campaign with the Danubeparks Nature Reserves and European Commission to represent and protect the current state of the Danube River and surrounding areas.
The challenge was to capture and document the last untouched floodplanes, riverbanks, and the surrounding areas. With these pictures the current state of the river is preserved that maybe we will never see it the same again.
The natural heritage of the Danube region is of European significance. Not only does the river offer haven to a number of endangered species, but also a large part of the wild nature that survives in Europe is situated in this region. Each year sees millions of birds migrating along the Danube from the Arctic to Africa.
They took their photos in fourteen nature conservation areas of eight countries alongside the Danube. The photographers completed twelve thousands kilometres over four months, during which more than fifty people lent a helping hand to them.
Being 2850 kms long, the Danube flows across Europe from the Black Forest to the Black Sea. The west-east direction of its flow has made this international river a significant trade route for many a century.
The floodplains of the Danube remained untouched up until the end of the 19th century. However, since then, its ecosystem has profoundly been changed due to several human interventions. Over 80% of the original riparian zone has been lost to dykes, pollution and climate change. In order to conserve the surviving natural habitats, there has been an increasing number of national parks and protected areas established since the 1970s all along the Danube and its tributaries. Despite this, since 2007, the Danube has been the only river in Europe included in the top list of WWF as endangered freshwater.
The natural heritage of the Danube region is of European significance. Not only does the river offer a haven to a number of endangered species, but also a large part of the wild nature that survives in Europe is situated in this region.