A Paradise for Birds and People under Threat
The Ulcinj Salina, close to the ocean in the south of Montenegro, is one of the most important wetland areas in the Balkan region. The significance of this saline wetland for birds during migration is often compared with that of London Heathrow Airport for its air traffic. Thousands of wading and water birds rest and nest in the Salina year by year in spring and autumn. They find a perfect habitat and enough food to refuel for the rest of their energy-sapping flight.
However, this avian paradise is under threat. Despite its immense significance for the bird populations as well as other salt-dependent species, the salina is not officially protected and has become a target of speculation for investors. It was intentionally run down by its new owner and about 500 people from the region lost their job and tradition of salt production. After the salt production was stopped in 2013, the infrastructure of the Salina has been decaying and the dams and pumps have been destroyed. The basins are being flooded with fresh water, causing the Salina to lose its attractiveness for those species with an affinity for salt water.
What is clear, is that the quality of the area for birds has declined in the past years and will continue if the Salina is not put under protection and salt production started again. This will benefit nature, the birds and other biodiversity in the Salina as well as the people in the region.
In April this year the Montenegrin minister for sustainable development and tourism, Pavle Radulović, promised to put the Salina Ulcinj under protection. Until now, where the first steps should have been made already, nothing has happened. The #SaveSalina Campaign started a petition to put pressure on the Montenegrin government to keep its promises. Also as Montenegro is a part of the European Union, the protection of the Salina should be part of their environmental efforts.
Please help to save the Salina Ulcinj – for birds and for people – sign and share the petition: savesalina.net