MADRID, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has published a report warning that the Donana wetlands in the southwest of Spain are in danger of slowly disappearing as they are not receiving enough water.
Donana is a 100,000-hectare World Heritage site which is home to round 4,000 species, including some unique habitats. It is also a vital stopping off point for migratory birds between Europe and Africa.
However, the WWF says Donana is now in danger of drying out as the result of several factors, including illegal farming, mining, gas drilling and dredging.
The wetlands are currently receiving only around 20 percent of the water they need to survive, according to a report published by the WWF.
The organization says that recent years have seen the drilling of around 1,000 illegal wells, and around 3,000 hectares of illegal farming activity.
"Over 80 percent of the marsh has been lost since the beginning of the 20th century, along with 90 percent of the shallow seasonal lakes," the report warns.
The WWF also warns of other possible threats to the park. For example, Gas Natural Fenosa, a Spanish natural gas utilities company, has been given a permission to use the empty gas reservoirs in the area to store gas for future use, a project which will require the construction of pipelines in the park.
Meanwhile, the Aznalcollar mine, which caused a major ecological disaster in 1998 when a dam burst, flooding Donana with toxic mud and waste, has also reopened. This has prompted fears of repeat of the incident which saw waste "equivalent to the contents of 2,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools" released into the park, provoking the deaths of "30,000 kilograms of fish," and requiring a major cleanup operation. Enditem