Vacaresti urban wetland: An oasis in Bucharest city, Romania

Vacaresti urban wetland: An oasis in Bucharest city, Romania

17 July 2012

An oasis of wilderness exists in the heart of Bucharest capital in the Vacaresti hollows, originally foreseen as a huge 174 ha water retention polder in the former Valley of Tears. The wetland wilderness harbours today 90 bird species and a rich wetland fish, amphibian, reptile and mammal fauna.

Vacaresti wetland may become Bucharest’s first nature reserve if the Parliament will turn it into a protected area, a harbour for recreation, leisure and environmental education for the increasing urban population and a conservation hotspot inside the capital. The authorities of Bucharest are becoming inspired by the success story of the London Wetland Centre, established in similar circumstances on land that used to be a simple water retention polder, and the participants of COP11 commended Romania’s support for this urban wetland project in Resolution 22 (paragraph 10).

Vacaresti urban wetland lies in a 174ha water retention polder constructed under the former regime in the Vacaresti quarter of the capital city Bucharest (2 million inhabitants). Even if the polder was never filled with water, there are some springs in its centre that feed permanent ponds and marshes which developed an incredible biodiversity and varied natural landscape. Whiskered Terns (guifette moustac) are breeding, European pond terrapins, many amphibians, foxes, etc. found a living here, some anglers, joggers and sunbathers spend their day in this quiet oasis, sheltered from the surrounding traffic and noise of the hectic city.

Report and photos by Tobias Salathé