This year’s Danube Day was celebrated with a number of kids events spread throughout the entire month of June, starting with the Serbian Republican Water Directorate’s festival in Zemun Quay, Belgrade, that took place on the 15th of June. Two weeks later, on 29th June, WWF Ukraine held a games event in the town of Vilkovo, situated near the Danube Delta, and another one in Kilia.
WWF Adria delivered the children activity “Water quiz”, that was interesting both to adults and children, because they had the chance to learn about the Water Footprint and were shocked to discover how much water we use on a daily basis and often waste. The team used the opportunity to also brief the visitors on the activities under the “LIFE for Danube Sturgeons” project and their most recent successes in protecting sturgeons in the Lower Danube and the Black Sea region. Zemun Municipality, the EU office in Serbia, Public Entreprise „Voda Vojvodine“, „Jaroslav Černi“ Institute for Water Management were among the other organisations that held educational and creative games for the young visitors.
The WWF’s stand in Zemun Quay was easily the most popular one because people recognised the organisation as the one that led on the Sterlet ban campaign and the main driver for the implementation of the ban in Serbia at the beginning of the year. Zemun Quay, where the festival was located, is a popular spot in the city with its many restaurants for everyone who enjoys eating fresh fish. The WWF team did not miss the perfect opportunity to talk with people about the sustainable ways to use fish stocks and consume fish products without contributing further to the already critical situation of decreasing numbers of fish in seas and oceans.
Overexploitation is the main direct threat to the survival of Danube sturgeons, driven by the extremely high economic value of sturgeon caviar. Straightening and channelization of the river and the building of dikes along the banks to prevent flooding, has resulted in a dramatic loss of 80% of the natural floodplains and wetlands that are part of the Danube river system. The changed Danube negatively impacts the people who live in the Danube region and who have been dependent on the river for their income. Irresponsible and irrational use of water resources was another largely discussed topic at the festival in Belgrade.
This was not the first time for WWF Adria and WWF Ukraine to work with children on the topic of sturgeons. The quest that WWF Ukraine organised for the Danube Day is part of a wider educational course called “Sturgeon Rangers” that has been designed by WWF especially for children of the age 7-11.