The area surrounding Lake Văcărești in Bucharest, a 183 hectares stretch of green, has been declared by the Romanian government a protected area of national interest, and named Văcăreşti Natural Park. The General Council of Bucharest approved the decision on April 29, with a majority of 41 votes and 4 abstentions. This makes Bucharest the first Romanian city to have a protected urban natural area. Notably, the new Văcăreşti Natural Park is one of the largest and richest urban wetland natural areas in Europe.
The wetlands preserve a rich fauna and flora, with over 90 species of birds (hawks, pheasants, wild ducks – many of which are protected by international conventions), mammals, fish and amphibians. The new protected area will serve for research and educational activities and leisure activities like bird watching. The decision is important from a tourism perspective as well, situating Bucharest among major cities of the world with a huge protected natural urban area which allows public access.
Hopefully, the park will soon become one of the city’s major tourist attractions, and a place for recreation and harmony between wild creatures and the local community.