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Baltic jewels

CABS nature reserves in North German Schleswig-Holstein

Tree Frog: a common amphibian in the CABS reserveTree Frog: a common amphibian in the CABS reserveIn 1984 CABS purchased a fish pond estate in Raisdorf, Schleswig-Holstein and, over the years, extended the reserve to include extensive meadows on the borders of the chain of ponds.

The ponds were cleared of fish stocks, the shores restored to a near-natural condition, and ‘Knicks’ or ‘Kniks’ - the typical north German combination of dry-stone wall and hedge – and field orchards were planted. The result is worth more than a second glance. Nowadays it is home to numerous endangered species of fauna and flora. Kingfishers, Reed Warblers, Goldeneye and Black-necked Grebe breed on the ponds and Red-backed Shrike, warblers and Thrush Nightingales in the hedges. White-tailed Eagles, Red Kite, Common Cranes and many wader species use the area for foraging. Rare butterfly, dragonfly and damselfly species also occur, as well as endangered flora such as Western Marsh-orchid, Water Soldier and Water Violet. A main attraction is of course the amphibian and reptile populations, which are present in large numbers. As well as the very large populations of toads, they include above all the European Tree Frog, Great Crested Newt and the Grass Snake. In autumn 2005 some 15 new small ponds were created within the reserve, principally as habitats for the European Tree Frog and the Fire-bellied Toad.

Flowering meadow in North GermanyFlowering meadow in North GermanyIn order to guarantee the protection of the large toad population, a road running immediately adjacent to the reserve is closed to traffic twice a year, sparing the otherwise cetrain death of thousands of amphibians by motor vehicles.

The area is not only a reserve for endangered species; it is also used for environmental education. An observation tower provides an unrestricted view across the ponds and groups of children and nature-loving citizens can join guided tours to get to know the area better and, at the same time, be provided with important information on nature and species protection.

In 1994 CABS also purchased large tracts of the adjacent Schwentine meadows. This riverine region, with its near-natural cultivated landscape and rich in flora and fauna, has in the meantime become part of a forward-looking project for the conservation of meadow landscapes.