Fire engulfs Bosnia's largest nature reserve

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 15, 2011 12:58 PM
Fire engulfs Bosnia's largest nature reserve

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Fire has engulfed much of Bosnia's Hutovo Blato nature reserve, killing many birds and animals, the park manager said Saturday.

The blaze broke out early Friday in an inaccessible section of the park and was fanned by strong winds across 80 percent of Bosnia's largest reserve before being extinguished on Saturday afternoon.

"The fire killed many birds, as well as mammals and reptiles. The vegetation was destroyed totally and the feeding chain is completely disturbed," said Nikola Zovko, manager of the park that attracts thousands of tourists every year.

"The damage is enormous," he said, adding the fire may have been started deliberately.

Hutovo Blato, on the list of Bird Life International's Important Bird Areas, is a unique natural reserve composed mainly of sub-Mediterranean marshland near the Adriatic coast created by an underground system of the Krupa river.

It is home to more than 240 types of migrating birds. In the migration season, tens of thousands of birds fill the lake and its surroundings.

(Reporting By Maja Zuvela)