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Antinioti Lagoon

Antinioti Lagoon or Limnothalassa Antinioti is situated on the North of the island off the main road towards the coast in the region of Thinali. At the far end of the main beach at Agios (Saint) Spyridon on the North of the island is an inlet for the Lake, there is a small bridge here that will take you to the area known as Nissos Island. This is a protected area in Corfu and is abundant with flora and wildlife including the threatened Otter species Lutra-lutra, and many rare orchids and offer great environmental interest. The lagoon area is about 1,000,000 square metres in size, comprising of around 400,000 for the lake with the remaining area accounting for the marshes and reed beds. The lagoon area is listed on the European Environment agencies website and is a protected area categorised on the European Nature Information System (EUNIS) under Natura 2000. In 1992 legislation was introduced to protect the most seriously threatened habitats across Europe and Natura 2000 was the result of this legislation bringing together special areas of protection and conservation.
This wetland situated on the northern coast of the island of Kerkyra (Corfu) is important for the threatened species Lutra lutra as well as for the ecological balance in the area. In addition, the site is characterized by a variety of habitats, and human activities have not yet exerted much influence upon it. This is of great importance for an island like Kerkyra which shows great tourist development and great pressure due to building construction. The wetland and the nearby habitats are kept in rather good condition. The protection and sustainable management of the site can contribute not only to the preservation of the wildlife but also to the economic development of the area (fishing, leisure activities, ecotourism). The greater the delays in establishing status of legal frame, the more the threats to the environment will increase.
The greatest threats to the site and its preservation come from increasing of human habitation and tourist development, unorganized leisure activities, the unreasonable use of fertilizers and pesticides in nearby cultivated areas (e.g. olive groves), and the lack of information to the local inhabitants about the importance of the wetland.
Although, for the time being, the verified reasons for decline of the natural environment of this site have had small to moderate influence on the animal taxa, it could be said that increasing human activities will soon disturb this sensitive ecosystem. The building and banking up activities, as well as uncontrolled tipping of rubbish are the main reasons for the alteration of some species habitats (especially those of amphibians, semi-aquatic reptiles, birds and some mammals). Also, water pollution caused by pesticides used in the nearby olive groves and by waste from an adjacent olive-press should not be neglected. As far as the otter is concerned, it mainly suffers from an alteration of its habitat (due to fires in reed beds, illegal hunting, pollution, etc.). The existing plans for future intensification of tourist and aquaculture activities at the site, form serious threats to this delicate ecosystem

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