The WWF has teamed up with the European Commission to launch ‘Flying over Natura 2000’, an initiative designed to teach Europeans more about the network of protected areas commissioned by the EU.
The idea behind the project is to promote the European ecological network of special conservation and protection areas known as Natura 2000. The network comprises over 18,000 sites and covers an estimated 17.5% of the territory belonging to the original EU-15. Natura 2000, which encompasses the Birds Directive (1979) and the Habitat Directive (1992) will be extended to include new member states in Spring 2006.
‘Flying over Natura 2000’ will track the migration of Black Storks from eight different member states (Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Spain, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Latvia). Each stork has been fitted with a satellite radio transmitter that will follow their migratory route across Europe towards their hibernating grounds in Africa. From the beginning of September until the end of October, pictures will be transmitted back to the participating nations in the form of a special one minute video clip, enabling viewers to learn more about European nature areas.
According to project leader Geoffrey De Schutter: “Most Europeans are still not aware that 15% of EU’s territory has a better chance to develop in harmony with nature. And this is exactly what the storks could show them.”