Monday, January 30, 2017

Waterbird Census in Albania: 160 000 birds in total, 16 074 in Lake Ohrid Region

The International Waterbird Census results estimate a presence of more than 160.000 birds in wetlands of Albania, represented by more than 65 waterbird species. From these about 16 074 birds are situated in Lake Ohrid region, Albanian side. This figure shows the improved situation with biodiversity in Lake Ohrid region, since there were 6000-7000 birds more than previous year. If we can see the table below, the number of birds is shown for each area from Lin to Tushemisht border.

 The yearly Waterbird Census was done on 14 and 15 January in Albania by 12 national and international experts, on behalf of Birdlife International. Supported by the EU funded project NaturAL, this was a great opportunity for the rangers to learn more about the management of natural resources within and around the protected areas they safeguard.
All offices of Regional Administration for Protected Areas were involved participating as counters or observers in the Census, and providing logistical support to participants. 
As a preparation for the Census, one day training was delivered by Dr Spase Shumka, Dr Taulant Bino and Mjrian Topi to the rangers on 12 January respectively in Pogradec, Kune-Vain, and Orikum.

The Census covered 18 selected sites and its findings will be made available to the public and the scientific community through the BioNNA database. These results will guide the Ministry of Environment and National Agency for Protected Areas in their work on the formulation of policies and strategies for conservation of nature and biodiversity, and protection of the ecosystem services.

Wetlands are the most important habitats for migratory birds. Each species contributes to the global biodiversity and consequently to the ecosystem services that nature provides to all living beings. Joining this international initiative, Albania once again confirms its important role for the protection of global biodiversity. The efforts put in place jointly by the Regional Administration of Protected Areas and the National Inspectorate are fundamental to ensure the safe journey of the migrant species, their existence and contribution to the ecosystem balances.

Contribution: Gani Bego
Source: http://www.natura.al/news.php?lang=en&uid=24

Monday, January 23, 2017

World Wetlands Day- how can we help?

World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Since 1997, the Ramsar Secretariat provides outreach materials to help raise public awareness about the importance and value of wetlands.

Prespa wetland 
Healthy wetlands can reduce the damage caused by disasters and make recovery faster. Yet worldwide, wetlands are in alarming retreat; at least 64% of them have disappeared since 1900.

So how can we help?

Communities
• Find out how the wetlands in your area are being used or overused - and who depends on them. How do wetlands protect your area during extreme events?
• Adopt practices that ensure long- term sustainability of the local wetlands for everyone. Measures might include controlling illegal fishing and dumping, no –take rules, set catch limits and regulate the type of activities by season.
• Clear rubbish from wetlands, and unblock streams and rivers.

Policy-makers Governments can include wetlands in their strategy for coping with disasters. Possible measures:
• Designate wetlands in flood- and storm-prone zones as protected areas.
• Restore degraded wetlands that act as protective barriers.
• Work with local stake holders and civil society to promote sustainable agriculture, fisheries and tourism.
• Adopt cross sectoral policies especially in agriculture and water to help protect wetlands.

Individuals
• Organize or join a wetland clean-up.
• Become a Wetland Ambassador advocate for wetlands.
• Use water more sparingly and avoid toxic products that drain into wetlands.
• Participate in actions to conserve and restore wetlands.

**


Si t'i mbrojmë ligatinat

Dita botërore e Ligatinave (tokave me uje) festohet cdo 2 shkurt. Kjo ditë shënon dhe datën e miratimit të konventës së ligatinave në 2 shkurt 1971 në qytetin Iranian Ramsar në brigjet e Detit Kaspik. Që nga 1997, Sekretariati i Ramsarit shpërndan materiale që ndihmojnë në rritjen e ndërgjegjësimit publik për rëndësinë dhe vlerat e ligatinave, ose tokat me ujë.
Ligatinat e sigurta mund të reduktojnë dëmet që shkaktohen nga katastrofat dhe mund të ndikojnë në rimëkëmbjen e shpejtë pas tyre. Në gjithë ligatinat janë të rrezikuara, të paktën 64% e tyre janë zhdukur që nga 1990

Si mund të ndihmojmë të gjithë për t'i mbrojtur ato?

Komunitetet

Të zbulojnë cilat janë ligatinat në zonat e tyre, si përdoren dhe cfarë varet nga ato. Si ligatinat mund të ndihmojnë zonën tuaj nga eventet ekstreme
Adoptoni praktikat që garantojnë një qendrueshmëri afatgjatë të ligatinave për këdo. Masa mund të përfshijnë kontrolle të peshkimit të paligjshëm apo hedhjen e mbeturinave, Ndermerrni aksione sipas sezoneve
Pastroni plehrat dhe clironi rrjedhat e ujit dhe lumenjve

Vendimarrësit
Duhet te bëjnë strategji për të përballuar katastrofat
Masat e tyre duhet të përfshijnë: Dizenjoni tokat që mund të përmbyten apo tokat që preken nga stuhite si zona të mbrojtura
Restauroni ligatinat e degraduara që veprojnë si barrier protective
Punoni me grupet e interest lokalë apo shoqërinë civile për të promovuar bujqësinë e qendrueshme, turizmin dhe peshkimin.
Adoptoni politika ndërsektoriale në bujqësi dhe ceshtjen e ujit për të mbrojtur ligatinat

Individët
Organizoni fushata pastrami të ligatinave
Behuni ambassador të ligatinave për ti mbrojtur
Përdoreni ujin me kursim dhe shmangni produktet toksike që derdhen në ligatina
Merrni pjesë në aksione për ti rigjallëruar ligatinat



Source/burimi:
http://www.worldwetlandsday.org/documents/10184/164097/WWD17_Handout3_engl3_HR2_+desktoprint.pdf/86f6c73a-35e3-4336-b310-2fa1111bec43

Monday, January 16, 2017

Vevcani Carnival - a 1400 year old tradition


Vevcani Carnival is celebrated every year for more than 1400 years. It is held every year on 13 and 14 January (on the eve and the first day of the New Year, according to the old calendar).
Carnival is a mix of pagan and modern way of celebration. The main characteristics of the carnival are: archaism, secretiveness, and improvisation.

The village of Vevčani is situated in the southwestern range at the foot of the Jablanica mountain range. It is 800 – 950 metres above sea level. The village is located 14 km North-West of the town of Struga, close to Lake Ohrid region. Carnival is one of the most important festive day in the area. According to some sources, the tradition of the Vevcani Carnival is dedicated to St. Basil the Great, a Christian saint and bishop from Asia Minor, who is considered the founder of the monastic tradition in Eastern Orthodoxy.

Vevcani from morning of this festive day, turned into a kind of theater without borders. First participants backstage them dressed and shaped masks, far from the public eye, designed and made weeks before. Then all the participants go on streets with their masks and perform their imaginary scenarios like real actors.

 Vevcani Carnival as a collection of "archaic, mystery and unique masks, but the most traditional masks are: "groom and bride," "Stupid August" and musicians. Carnival can regularly see the masks and costumes that satirizes everyday political events in the country and in the world. Vevcani Carnival is considered also an outdoor theater. It engages all residents of the municipality, and residents open doors of their homes to guests with traditional specialties and good wine.

Under cloudless skies, hundreds of Vevcani citizens and curious guests from Ohrid, Struga, Macedonia and abroad, walked for nearly two hours in a parade, with the masks that this time was an image of the actual situation in Macedonia and the world.

Source: http://www.dw.com/mk/

Monday, January 9, 2017

Albania is part of biggest lakes in Balkans

Albania is home to 247 natural lakes and more than 800 artificial lakes. Albania is part of three most important lakes of the Balkans Peninsula: Shkodra lake, Ohrid Lake and Prespa Lake.
Let's explore some of them:
Ohrid Lake

Lake Ohrid straddles the mountainous border between southwestern Macedonia and eastern Albania and is the deepest lake in the entire Balkan Peninsula, with a maximum depth of nearly 300 m. The historical value and the diverse flora and fauna have helped Lake Ohrid to become one of UNESCO’s Cultural and Natural Heritage sites. There are a variety of aquatic species in the lake, the most famous of which is the Koran, known for being a particularly delicious fish. The city of Pogradec, well known for its climate, was built on the southwestern coast of Lake Ohrid. Alongside the shore there are several tourist centers such as Lini, Pojska, Pogradec, Drilon and Tushemisht, where many hotels and guesthouses offer comfortable accommodations for a wonderful and relaxing vacation.

Prespa Lake

Prespa Lake consists of two branches, Great and Small Prespa. The latter branch cuts deeply into Albania's Galicica Mountain. It is the highest tectonic lake in the Balkans with an altitude of 853 m. Prespa Lake with a surface of 285 km2, of which 38.8 km2 belongs to Albania, is known for the small island of Maligrad. For those exploring the island, the old.
In this lake there are very important breeding populations of Dalmatian and white pelicans. Lakes Ohrid and Prespa are between two and four millionyears old and unique species of fish have evolved in them, among them the delicious koran and belushka.

Shkodra Lake

Shkodra Lake is located in northwestern Albania, straddles the border between Albania and Montenegro. and is the largest lake in the entire Balkan Peninsula, with an area of 370 km².
Thousands of cormorants winter on this lake each year. It is relatively shallow and is fed by many different rivers as well as by springs, making it quite varied in its aquatic life, with various species of carp and trout in its waters.

The main tourist centers are Shiroka and Zogaj, offering numerous hotels and restaurants. This area is famous for it’s variety of fish, including carp, eel and shtojzë. The main leisure activities here are fishing, swimming, sunbathing and the exploration of the area.

Other lakes
Those who are willing to explore more of Albania will be able to see the artificial lakes formed by the Drin’s cascade (Vau i Dejës Lake, Komani Lake and Fierza lake), the artificial lakes of Shkopeti and Ulza, the small glacial lakes of Lura, Balgjait, Dobërdol, Sylbice, Rajca and many more.



http://albania.al/article/9/lakes/


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Things to do on Lake Ohrid that will make you fall in love

"Lake Ohrid is a UNESCO protected lake and town in South-West Macedonia. Squeezed into the border of Macedonia and Albania, it is a heady combination of crumbling villas, terracotta tiles and gigantic statues. This is a town where you will fall in love – with early morning mists hovering over the lake, with deserted castles and monasteries and with delightful, natural springs bubbling from emerald waters". Here is how Anne the founder of the blog TravelTheGlobe4Less, describe the Lake Ohrid Region in her article: Things to do on Lake Ohrid that will make you fall in love, published in the latest days of December 2016.
She suggests 5 top things to do around this region, describing them as fabulous destinations, impossible to resist. 

Discover these 5 top destinations in Lake Ohrid region:


St. Naum monastery 
A visit to the monastery is as much about the journey as the arrival. You feast on beautiful coastal views, and glimpses of the Bay of Bones, the President’s summer house and the only five-star resort on the lake.
The hulking outline of mountains rising on the opposite side of the lake in Albania add drama to the monastery’s location. Like a guardian angel, it perches on a rocky outcropping, overlooking the bay. It’s free to visit the inner courtyard but 100 Den to go inside the small monastery (30 if you are a student!)
Inside, frescoes line every inch of wall space, so dated they look like smudged crayon drawings which have rubbed away over time. A sense of serenity overwhelms me and I find myself reliving the sensation of meditating on an Indian retreat.
Once you have taken your ecclesiastical fill, wander down the hillside towards the few restaurants and village shops. En route, you will pass boat owners touting short trips into the emerald green springs. Negotiate a price and jump onboard.


St. Naum springs
It’s silent apart from the water lapping at the hull of the boat and the oars splashing as we row slowly through the springs of St. Naum. Vivid green waters hide gurgling springs below, the main supply of lake water. We can just make out huge bubbles spewing from the ground into the cold waters like potions in a cauldron.
My tour guide, Nikola is something of a storyteller regaling me with tales of previous mishaps on the boat. I struggle to understand everything he says but am happy to stare into the crystal clear waters and thank my lucky stars I am fortunate enough to be here.
We row (yes, Nikola is crazy enough to allow me to take the oars!) to a tiny monastery hidden in the bush, the colours so vivid it looks as though the pop filter on my camera has been applied to the scene. It’s truly stunning, like a quaint little cottage hidden in the woods.
Cost: the boat trip costs 10 Euro per person and you can book your own trip with Nikola at Nikoturs.

Samuil’s Fortress, Ohrid
This fortress is a Goliath. With remearkably well preserved walls, a huge inner courtyard and a gigantic flag fluttering above, it can be seen from almost anywhere in Ohrid. If you want specatcaulr views a little closer, however head to the church of Perivleptos where you have the perfect vantage point of the castle.
It pays to get here early too. Although the official opening time is 9am, I arrive at 8.30 and wander through the gates to find myself alone. Like an excited child, I rush up onto the ramparts to admire spectacular views of the town slowly waking from a slumber, wisps of hazy clouds lingering. The video gives you an idea of how fabulous this attraction is (100 Den or 30 if you are a student) especially when you have it entirely to yourself. I have one of my quiet, wow moments, one where I feel a little overwhelmed with a wondrous sense of delight.
Does anyone else experience that sensation when travelling?

St John at Kaneo Church
The Wizz Air site proudly displays a picture of this church, which probably sub-consciously influenced me to book the flights. It’s a red terracotta delight perched high on the cliff, above stunning azure waters. I’m drawn to it like a moth to a flame, carefully skittering down the hillside to take a closer look. The architecture resembles many other churches in the area (365 apparently!) with a small dome in the middle and pale-red brickwork.
You can reach the church by following a boardwalk along the base of the cliff from the old town of Ohrid. After passing a little shingle beach, the path weaves its way up the hillside until you arrive at a bluff overlooking the church.

The monastery of St Pantelejimon
In the shadow of the castle and high above the water, another monastery greets you with roman pillars suggesting a grand, bygone era. It is clearly an auspicious monument as our visit coincides with that of the Macedonian president meeting Serbian orthodox priests. My curiosity gets the better of me and I decide to pay the 30 Den (student price or 100 for adults: £1.50) so I can get my first glimpse of the president.
I wander around the church, snapping pictures of the mind boggling roof shapes then stop to sunbathe. I am basking in the shade of the roman ruins when a posse of people emerge into sunlight. I immediately identify the president (something about the scary looking bodyguards surrounding him!) who passes by so close I can almost reach out and grab him (but I don’t fancy being shot today!).
His security is pretty limited and I’m astonished that I can get so close with no security clearance and no search. It makes an amusing interlude to my day but I soon forget about it in my quest to discover Ohrid.