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This month, Tirana, the heart of Albania, has transformed to celebrate the country’s awe-inspiring and diverse nature.

Through the #AlbaniaIsBiodiversity campaign, the NGO Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA) wants to inspire people by bringing nature to their doorstep. They are doing this by replicating the mosaic adorning the facade National of the History Museum with a grand banner featuring Albania’s most iconic species adjacent to the museum.

The figures that are of historical importance to the country on the original mosaic have ingeniously been replaced by species from the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) to the Brown Bear (Ursus arctos). The message? Nature is an integral part of Albania’s rich culture and history, and it deserves to be preserved for generations to come.

Despite its small size, Albania is a biodiversity hotspot and a home for many endangered species such as the Balkan Lynx (Lynx lynx balcanicus), the Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) and the Albanian Tulip (Tulipa albanica). Sadly, these species have seen their populations steadily decline over the years, primarily due to factors like the unprecedented urbanization of protected areas, habitat loss, and deforestation.

For three weeks, citizens, youth and passers-by will have the opportunity to participate in a wide array of activities that are taking place every day. From a visit to the botanical garden and eco-dance workshops to film screenings and lectures about reforestation projects, there is no time to get bored!

This striking campaign comes at a time when the Albanian authorities are illegally constructing an airport in the second most important wetland of the country, a vital stopover site for thousands of migratory birds.

Hopefully, the campaign can help open the eyes of authorities to a different course that is still possible for the country. And that they can create a future where nature and humans co-exist in harmony.

If you happen to be around Tirana, you can find the programme of the Albania is Biodiversity campaign on PPNEA’s social media accounts.

This campaign is a joint initiative between PPNEA and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Tirana

Picture by Henri Koci

Artwork by Kleidi Eski

Written by Caroline Herman

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