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Into the wild at the Duna-Dráva National Park

 

During a boat ride in Hungary’s Duna-Dráva National Park, Kenneth and Susann discovered some seriously amazing nature and how hard it can be to control rivers.

The Duna-Dráva National Park covers about 50 000 hectares along the Danube (Duna in Hungarian) and the Dráva rivers. It borders Croatia and Serbia and was in fact originally conceived as a cross-border national park with what was then Yugoslavia.

Kenneth and Susann were able to spot wild boars crossing the river and, incredibly, butterflies that change their colour! And something even tried to jump into the boat – an alligator? No, just a big fish, our travellers were told by their guide Tibor Parrag, head of nature conservation at the park.

The river used to flow here, changing course all the time and forming areas of channels or lakes. Tibor took the crew to see one, the oxbow lake Grébec-Duna, and explained how its eco-system was damaged by the lack of water when embankments were built on the river.

Over the last few years, however, the Park Directorate have restored the lake by reopening it to the river. Small acts, like removing a few meters of blockage, have restored entire side branches. These bring more fresh water and fish (for the birds to eat), and the whole area has been rehabilitated to its natural state, as Susann and Kenneth could witness!

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