Horses feed on a flooded river island Krcedinska ada on Danube river, 50 kilometers north-west of Belgrade, Serbia, on Jan. 9, 2024. (Darko Vojinovic/AP Photo)
GARDINOVCI, Serbia—Serbian authorities on Tuesday started evacuating nearly 200 animals that have been stranded on a river island for weeks and were facing hunger and cold as temperatures dropped.
The cows, calves, and horses got stuck on the Krcedinska Ada island in the middle of the Danube river after water levels rose sharply last month, blocking their way back to the shore.
The Danube is Europe’s biggest river, flowing through a number of countries, including Serbia. Krcedinska Ada island is located about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the capital, Belgrade.
The weather was warm in Serbia for weeks late last year, and the Danube had swollen due to the melting of snow upstream. This week, warm weather gave way to a spate of snowy and freezing weather that swept the Balkan region.
Local authorities brought over a fenced river raft so the animals would be safe during transport. It will take several trips to bring back all the animals.
The Serbian government’s Ministry of Agriculture has said that a total of 97 cows, 40 calves, and 70 horses were stranded on Krcedinska Ada. The distance from the shore is up to 3 kilometers (2 miles). Most of the animals are privately owned, officials said.
Locals were relieved and grateful for the help: “Finally some good news!” said Zoran Kunic, who heads a cattle-breeders association in the area.
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
Success! You are now subscribed.