Slikovnica "Čigre prijatelji u nevolji"/Little tern booklet

WWF Adria and BIOM mark the end of the Year of the Tern

Zagreb – The two non-governmental organizations WWF Adria and BIOM within the 2018 Year of the Tern and within the framework of their separate EU projects have carried out a number of activities focused on education and protection of the tern populations and their habitats in Croatia.

At the beginning of 2018 BIOM set up a floating nesting platform at Lake Siromaja 2 near Rugvica. In addition, 17 birds were marked with GPS-UHF devices to investigate their movement and use of habitats. Prior to the arrival of the terns in spring the gravel bars were cleaned and prepared for nesting.

A seven day training camp for the school children called “Our Drava” was held in June near Drava river in Varaždin county. Representatives of WWF Adria held a workshop on the importance of river birds and their habitats, with a special emphasis on Little terns (Sternula albifrons) and Sand martins (Riparia riparia). The students had the opportunity to learn about the species, flora and fauna on Drava river, habitats and their importance for the biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems.

In autumn BIOM organized several volunteer actions called “Č-igranje” on Rakitje lake near Zagreb, where gravel bars have been cleaned for the arrival of the terns next year. The bars were cleaned of new-grown vegetation and covered with 50 cubic meters of gravel. On the lakes Rakitje and Siromaja 2, information boards were placed to inform and warn the locals and other recreationists not to disturb the birds when they are nesting.

During September and October over 8,000 people joined the #ProtectRiverBirds digital campaign over a period of 3 weeks. The purpose of the social media campaign was to raise awareness on the importance of protecting river birds and their habitats. The campaign was launched by WWF Adria in cooperation with BIOM and supported by numerous organizations, civil initiatives and institutions like Hrvatske vode, Public Institution of Međimurje County, Nature Parks Lonjsko Polje and Kopački rit, non-governmental organizations Zeus-Senjar, Green Osijek, Croatian Society for Bird and Nature Protection, BED – Brodsko ekološko društvo, LUMEN Association, Rafting Club Matis Varazdin, Art Center Jeskovo, Dravska priča, and many other individuals, scientists, biologists, artists and nature lovers.

“The improvement of river dynamics as well as conservation efforts and protection of the last breeding pairs of Little tern on Drava river is highly important for the whole DRAVA LIFE – Integrated river management project. We need to raise awareness and inform the local population not to disturb the birds on the Drava river during the nesting period. Some of the last natural habitats can be found on the 50 km long strech of the Drava river in Koprivnica-Križevci County”, added Branka Španiček from WWF Adria.


In December WWF Adria published 2 publications, a children’s booklet called “Čigre, prijatelji u nevolji” and a 3D cut-out mobile of the Little tern. Several educational workshops for schoolchildren were organized in schools and kindergardens at the end of the year where children got their copy before the holidays.

The common and Little tern are strictly protected birds in Croatia under the Nature Protection Act (OG 80/13) and the Ordinance on Strictly Protected Species (OG 144/13) and are listed in Annex 1 of the European Birds Directive. In the Red Book of Birds in Croatia, the nesting population of common tern is listed as an almost endangered species, while the Little tern is listed as threatened.

Common tern/Crvenokljuna čigra


Educational workshop on Drava river/Edukacijska radionica o dobrobitima rijeke Drave

Workshop for school children within DRAVA LIFE project

Legrad – First DRAVA LIFE project workshop for pupils from 5th and 6th grade of Legrad primary school was held on 30th May 2018 in the Sport Fishing center “Smuđ“ in Legrad, organized by project partner Green Osijek.

Ivan Damjanović  from NGO Green Osijek talked about the protection of rivers and Branka Španiček  from WWF Adria held a presentation about endangered species and habitats in the Drava River basin. Only few pairs of river birds such as Sand martin and Little tern are left on Drava river and those numbers are constantly declining. The Drava Life project aims to improve the habitats for these river birds through river revitalization and habitat protection measures. The children could also learn about the project activity for reintroduction and repopulation of the riverine plants German tamarisk and Dwarf cattail that took place earlier this year. German tamarisk and Dwarf cattail are two pioneer species that grow on sand- and gravel bars along rivers and could be found until not that long ago also along Mura and Drava in Croatia.

The main purpose of the workshop was educating pupils and other participants about the importance of river protection and preservation of endangered species. DRAVA LIFE project partners are also working on the development of Visitors guidance Plan and Action Plan for River Birds, organizing visits to restored habitats, implementation of educational programs for citizens and schools, organization of international study trips and visiting other LIFE projects for exchanging experience and examples of good practice.

The workshop participants were closely informed about DRAVA LIFE project activities and the exceptional biodiversity of the Amazon of Europe. After presentations, students got educational materials about the river Drava and more information on EU projects in this area. There was also a small quiz which tested their knowledge. The event was closed in a happy common snack shared by the participating children and the educators.