In Palud cove, 8 kilometres southwest of Rovinj, is the only ornithological park in Istria. Palud is a natural depression in close vicinity to the sea, which because of the inflow of water from the surrounding hills and plateaus, as well as springs on the northern side has turned into a swamp. In 1906 when there was an Austro-Hungarian military base in Barbariga, a 200-meter-long canal was dug from the swamp to the sea. This was done to increase salinity of the marsh water and so prevent the development of mosquito larvae that were the main transmitters of malaria. By connecting the sea and swamp Palud gained its new inhabitants such as grey mullet and eel, fish that are found in areas where seawater mixes with freshwater. Older people of the Rovinj area recall seeing even other species of fish in the swamp that came in search of food. The great variety and number of resident and migratory bird species is surely the most important feature of this unique swamp.
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