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Aves, 40/1-4 | 2003 | 207-211

  Black Stork is not only a bird ...
Collas, P.

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Article summary

It’s not a secret anymore, Black Stork has been breeding again in Belgium since fifteen years. Incontestably, this return was a major event in the world of begian ornithology but, was also an occasion that the RNOB (réserves naturelles et ornithologiques de Belgique) association could not miss. Worried about a constant loss of wetlands, the richest ecosystems of the Ardenne (south-east BELGIUM) and, aware of the need to react quickly to preserve what was left (2/3 of wetlands have already disappeared in less than a century), this association started in 1989, with the help of Hëllef fir d’Natur of Luxembourg, a program centred on Black Storks. Although the primary goal of this project wasn’t protection of the species but, the conservation of its feeding areas and, consequently, of the biodiversity of those wetlands, Black Stork was chosen to be the symbol of this project. This species was clearly fit to be a symbol because, it frequents wetlands to forage for food, it was back after a long absence unlike other threatened species and finally it is well known to a wide public. Aftet more than 10 years, this project allowed the creation of 37 natural reserves covering a surface of 355 hectares. Those sites, now preserved from drainage, spruce plantation, filling in, are situated in Fauvillers, Vaux-sur-Sûren Léglise, Bastogne, Bertogne, Houffalize, Gouvy, Vielsam and Burg-Reuland. Acquisition of those plots was made possible through rhe financial help of the région wallonne, the european community or private sponsorship. Most purchases were done before 1995 (end of european financing) but, since then 10 to 20 hectares are bought annually among those districts.

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