French hunters take care of wetlands in the Natural Park of Brenne
Brenne Regional Natural Park, managed by the Indre Department, contains 3000 artificial ponds, which have been created since the Middle Age for fish farming. Due to its natural richness, most of this wetland area is designated under Ramsar and the Natura 2000 Network.
In 1993, the Wildlife Habitats Foundation bought 200 hectares of this site and, with the help of the Indre Federation of Hunters, acts to safeguard the habitat threatened by agricultural abandonment, but also to promote biodiversity and raise awareness to the public, hunters, non-hunters and schools.
Hunters created three ponds and five observatories with one opened to the public for bird observation. Habitat management and enhancement on the site includes mowing, extensive grazing and traditional fish farming.
Intensive trapping of some generalist predator species like the River Rat (Myocastor coypus) and the Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) takes place to enhance the habitat and increase of the number of wintering ducks, geese and swans. These waterbird species have evolved from 300-400 at the beginning of the project to 1000 (or even 2000 in certain circumstances) 15 years later.
Each year, around 1500 people visit the site and the project aims to improve visitors’ awareness about wetlands issues and their threats.
Other actions have been planned such as training courses on wetland management, improving grassland management and creating areas for waterbirds.
Contact and references:
Project Brochure (page n.20)
Website: Brenne Regional Natural Park