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 is a unique nature reserve and bird reserve located in south Bosnia and Herzegovina on the left side of river Neretva, featuring a unique sub Mediterranean marshland near the Adriatic coast in Europe. It is composed of marshlands that were created by the underground aquifer system of the Krupa River. It is fed from the limestone massif of Ostrvo that divides the Deransko lake and Svitavsko lake. Hutovo Bloato is on the list of Bird Life International's Important Bird Areas.
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 surrounding areas.
Reuters,"Fire engulfs Bosnia's largest nature reserve ", by Maja Zuvela, accessed October 16, 2011