Milka WILDIsland Candidate
Milka WILDIsland – Candidate is embedded in Persina Nature Park. The Strict Nature Reserve Milka Island was established in 1948 at the total area of 39 ha and used to be a solitary reserve in the middle of Danube for many years. Together with the nearby Kitka Island, strictly protected since 1981, both islands are located within the boundaries of Persina Nature Park.
Persina Nature Park is the only Bulgarian nature park situated along the Bulgarian part of Danube river. The designation of this protected area aims at the conservation and restoration of Danube wetlands and islands. Milka and Kitka Islands are two strictly protected islands that are valuable for their unique floodplain forests under strict protection for several decades.
European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System
Milka WILDIsland was subject to Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. After the finalisation of the Quick-Audit for Milka WILDIsland, there is further potential to carry out the Quick-Audit of Kitka Island as well. In this case both islands could become important members of the European Wilderness Network.
- Protected area: Persina Nature Park
- Wilderness: Milka WILDIsland – Candidate
- Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
- Country: Bulgaria
- Size of the protected area: 21 762 ha
- Size of the Wilderness: 39 ha (with potential for enlargement – Kitka Islands, 28 ha)
- European Wilderness Quality Standard Pre-Audit: 2019
- Wilderness Uniqueness: It is a small but extremely unique island of great international importance. Its value lies in its characteristic vegetation of rare, unmanaged broadleaf forest and the habitat of the white-tailed eagle, and many other birds, such as terns, herons and cormorants.
- Number of visitors per year to the protected area: To be verified
- Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: To be verified
Milka WILDIsland is located in the Danube River and is accessible only by boat. The island is entirely covered by natural riverine forest, consisting mainly of willow, poplar and elm. Forest formation is directly related to the river’s water regime. The high-water level heavily impacts particularly the spring vegetation. The riparian vegetation also consists of wild vine, hops and rare liana species. The island provides a good habitat for rare plant species, such as the yellow water rose and swamp ragweed.
Milka WILDIsland is an important bird breeding area for a number of aquatic bird species, such as cormorants and black-necked grebe. Moreover, it is a rare but characteristic habitat of the white-tailed eagle. There is also a rich diversity of mammals including black ferrets and river otters. Many amphibians and reptiles also inhabit the area, like the Balkan spadefoot and the water snake.
The Milka WILDIsland is not accessible to visitors, however, a number of islands in the vicinity, such as Persin Island, Shturetsa Island or Magaretsa Island provide a very unique experience. Persina Nature Park contains many bike and foot trails outside the Wilderness that enable visitors to discover the Danube river, forest and wetland ecosystems. There are designated routes for birdwatchers, hikers and bikers. A scenic route between the islands on boat or canoe provide the perfect combination of rowing and observing floodplain forests with characteristic birds. A special rare experience is observation of the white-tailed eagle – the symbol of the Persina Nature Park, which has a nesting place in this island complex. Additionally, there are many interesting cultural and historical sights in the surroundings.
- Milka WILDIsland
- Persina Nature Park
- Address: Persina str. 5
- Postal code city: 5930 Belene, Bulgaria
- Phone: +359 65832684
- Website: www.persina.bg