One of the oldest national parks in Europe is under attack. Macedonia intends to build two large hydropower plants in the habitat of the last remaining population of the Balkan lynx. If the projects go ahead as foreseen, it may go extinct. Call upon the banks and the Macedonian Prime Minister to scrap the projects!
The Mavrovo National Park is one of Europe’s oldest national parks. Bears, wolves, otters, and rare fish species roam freely in its mountainous landscape, primeval forests and numerous creeks and rivers. One species is outstanding, though: the Balkan lynx. Only about 50 of these animals are believed have survived to this day. Mavrovo National Park is the center of this remaining population and the only place where it is still known to procreate successfully.
If we don’t act immediately, the Balkan lynx is likely to go extinct. Two large hydropower plants are slated to be built in the middle of the national park. Disguised as green sources of energy, the World Bank and the EBRD intend to support the projects with a total of EUR 135 million. They are thereby financing the destruction of the national park and the extermination of the Balkan lynx.
“Mavrovo hosts […] the last source of population with reproduction of the Balkan lynx […]. Putting any additional stress on this source population may lead to the extinction of one of the most threatened mammal populations in Europe,” says Dr. Urs Breitenmoser, Co-Chair, IUCN-SSC Cat Specialist Group.
“These projects are not only threatening to destroy this particular national park, they undermine the very idea of national parks,” warns Gabriel Schwaderer, CEO of the Foundation for Conservation EuroNatur. “If we do not even succeed in protecting nature and biodiversity in national parks, do we stand a chance to preserve nature anywhere else?” Riverwatch CEO Ulrich Eichelmann adds.
It is unlikely that the Macedonian government will be capable of realizing these projects without the World Bank’s and EBRD’s financial aid. Take action and call on the banks to refuse funding and the Macedonian Prime Minister to scrap the projects.