The Romanian government adopted this week a decision by which the Văcărești Nature Park is officially established. Also known as the Văcărești Delta or the Delta of Bucharest, the area stands out with its biodiversity and formed naturally, over the past 25 years around the Văcărești lake, in the District 4 of the capital.

The 189 hectares site stands between Calea Văcărești, Olteniței Road, the Vitan-Bârzești Road and Splaiul Dâmboviței. It was brought to public attention after National Geographic Romania ran a story on it in 2012. The article was signed by Cristian Lascu and Helmut Ignat, and was titled ‘The Delta between Blocks.’

The Văcărești lake is an artificial lake, established as part of works alongside the Dambovita river, and it was meant to be part of hydrologic system of defense of Bucharest against flooding. Works on it started in 1986, when the Văcărești monastery was also demolished, but were stopped after 1989 and the site abandoned.

During this abandonment period, a diverse vegetation and fauna developed. Over 95 species of birds and water animals can be found in the area. Several otters, a protected species, were spotted on site in 2014. Specialists say the presence of this mammal at Văcărești is a sign of the health of the ecosystem.

Several species found here, protected by the local and European legislation, are subject to illegal hunting each year. With its new statute, the place will be protected by law and administered following ecological principles.

Photo: Helmut Ignat