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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-02-18

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Lake Kerkini buffalos in northern Greece
  • [02] Alternate FM in Zagreb

  • [01] Lake Kerkini buffalos in northern Greece

    The region surrounding the dam lake Kerkini in Serres, northern Greece, is home to Greece's largest buffalo population.

    The Bubalus bubalis domestic water buffalo is an attractive animal that was domesticated for dairy production and is well adapted to wetland life.

    In the past, it was common in Macedonia, Thrace and Thessaly, but its population numbers dropped from 75,000 in the 1950s to about 600 in 1992. Apart from the Kerkini region, a small number of buffalos can still be seen near Lake Volvi, the Axios River delta and Lake Vistonida.

    A conservation program was initiated in the late 1990s to protect the remaining buffalo population, and the number has risen to some 2,000 animals today. Water buffalos from the Kerkini wetlands have been introduced into three other wetlands, those of Lesser Prespa Lake, the Amvrakikos Gulf and the Spercheios River delta.

    Lake Kerkini is Serres prefecture's most essential hydrobiosphere, and one of the most important and beautiful nature sites in northern Greece.

    Kerkini is a man-made lake flooded in 1932, with a small dam and a series of embankments, and is home to more than 220 species of birds and dozens of amphibian, reptile and insect species. Although man-made, it has become an important and successful natural habitat.

    The Strymon River is the Lake's primary tributary, and in 1982 the system of dams and levees was redesigned due to the build-up of silt from Strymon and other, smaller, rivers that flow into Kerkini.

    The Kerkini buffalos live side-by-side with pelicans, otters and ospreys. In the summer they cover their bodies with mud to protect themselves from the insects and the in the winter they pose for visitors who hasten to see them up close.

    The history of buffalos in the region is very old. Buffalos were domesticated to assist in farming and were part of everyday life, until the advent of farming machinery.

    Buffalos are very smart animals. If they don't know you well they won't allow you to milk them, if you hit them they won't forget it and will take revenge, according to breeder Vassilis Giartimidis who decided three years ago to become involved with buffalo breeding for the production of milk, butter and cheese.

    [02] Alternate FM in Zagreb

    Zagreb (ANA-MPA/M. Savva) -- Alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas was in Zagreb on Thursday to represent the Greek government at the swearing-in of Croatia's newly-elected president Ivo Josipovic, by whom he will be received in the afternoon.

    Shortly after his arrival in Zagreb, Droutsas met with Croatia's minister of foreign affairs and European integration Gordan Jandrokovic.

    "We had an open and friendly discussion, given that there are no open issues between our countries," Jandrokovic told reporters after the meeting, adding that both sides desire further enhancement of their bilateral relations.

    He further expressed his country's gratitude for Greece's strong backing of Croatia's request for completion of its EU accession negotiations and for NATO membership, adding that it is necessary for all the countries of SE Europe to seek a Euro-Atlantic prospect and gradually fulfill the accession criteria.

    Jandrokovic said it is very important for the citizens to believe that they will soon become members of the EU, and therefore Croatia and Greece were doing all they can in that direction.

    Droutsas, in turn, noted the important prospect given to the SE Europe citizens by Greece's initiative for 2014 to be the landmark date for the fulfillment of the EU criteria and their accession to the union.

    "It is important that we give our neighboring countries such a prospect," Droutsas said in a joint statement with Jandrokovic after their meeting.

    "We believe that EU participation is the best guarantee for stability and peace in our region, and with this prospect in mind we set 2014 as the symbolic date," he added.

    Droutsas noted that the EU can play a very significant role in that prospect, and that is why it is of primary importance that all the candidate countries, "to which we give this symbolic incentive", fulfill all the required criteria.

    Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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