We work to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of Prespa, protecting its rich biodiversity and landscape, side by side with the people who live here.

Guided by scientific knowledge and many years of experience in protecting the area, we strive to limit the effects of climate change and modern lifestyles on the natural environment of Prespa and promote sustainable ways to create a favourable future for generations to come.

We work across borders and see the region as a single place with natural and cultural wealth of unique value. Because of its global significance people from all over the world are interested in preserving the unique heritage of Prespa, we join forces with them and the local community in our efforts, as well as with many academic, institutional, scientific and NGO partners.


Since 2015, great white pelicans have numbered around 500-700 pairs, while Dalmatian pelicans exceeded 1,200 pairs until hit by a catastrophic avian influenza outbreak in 2022.

Pelicans were one of the reasons the SPP was founded, with its work gradually reversing their alarming downward population trend in the late 1980s. A combination of managing reedbeds and the water level of Lesser Prespa Lake, together with wardening and awareness-raising, has not only seen pelicans, and other waterbirds, increase, but also created multiple benefits for fishing, livestock farming and tourism.

Nowadays, drone photography and satellite transmitters help us to study and monitor pelican populations, both in Prespa and nearby Lake Cheimaditida. However, the protection of pelicans goes far beyond Prespa and Greece, since they are migratory species and the birds of SE Europe and Turkey regularly travel to wetlands throughout the region to meet their feeding and nesting needs.

The SPP thus collaborates with many partners for pelican conservation, from the Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS) and protected area managers in Greece to the Pelecanus Group, a global network of scientists and experts co-ordinated by the Society. The SPP also supports the co-ordinator of the IUCN SSC-WI International Pelican Specialist Group and, together with HOS, has produced a Global Action Plan for the Dalmatian Pelican.

Great white pelicans, important heron species (black-crowned night heron, grey heron, purple heron, little bittern, squacco heron, little egret, great egret), glossy ibis, pygmy cormorant and ferruginous duck also breed in these wetlands every year, as well as relict and genetically isolated populations of goosander and greylag geese. With over 40,000 individuals using the lakes in winter, the area is also internationally significant as a wintering area for waterbirds.

Maintaining and increasing these populations mainly depends on ensuring they have sufficient suitable and safe places to nest and feed. Research has shown us that Prespa’s waterbirds depend on the shallow, vegetation-free areas at the edge of the lake to feed, so expanding these wet meadow areas through water level and reedbed management has been crucial. The SPP has monitored waterbirds for many years using a combination of methods to check how they are doing, in collaboration with its partners in the two neighbouring countries.

In a place where the local economy depends in no small part on animal husbandry, agriculture and apiculture, conflicts between humans and large mammals are inevitable. In this context the SPP works together with its partners to better understand the behaviour of these animals and propose alternative solutions in order to mitigate the effects on human activities.

The SPP has been monitoring this small population since the 1990s and has instigated genetic research, carried out by the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR), revealing that the greylag geese of Prespa have unique genetic characteristics, reinforcing the need for their protection.

The SPP also collaborates with the Dutch SOVON Institute to study greylag geese diet in Prespa and has sown rented fields with high nutritional value cereal crops, recognising the role that good nutrition particularly plays for the survival of juveniles.

The endemic Prespa trout is one of the oldest trout species in the Mediterranean. It lives only in the Agios Germanos River and three other rivers in North Macedonia, and is classified as “Endangered” in the IUCN Red List of Mediterranean endemic freshwater fishes. The endemic Prespa barbel, a small goldenish barbel with black spots, is found across both Prespa lakes. The Agios Germanos River is an important spawning ground for the species, which is listed as “Endangered” in the Red Data Book of Threatened Vertebrates of Greece.

The SPP has been monitoring Prespa’s fish for 35 years in order to understand their long-term population trends and support protection measures. The results have contributed to targeted action plans for the Prespa barbel and Prespa trout, and assist the Wetland Management Committee in deciding on matters such as the annual closed season for fishing during the time when fish spawn and reproduce. The SPP also helps to protect fish through improving the shallow water habitats around Lesser Prespa Lake, known as wet meadows, where they breed.

The animals are small, with gray to brown or almost black coats and a long, relatively narrow muzzle with a characteristic white ring around it. The Prespa dwarf cow is frugal, hardy and disease-resistant, but the breed is considered endangered and the population of these animals is extremely small.

The SPP initiated efforts to identify the breed in 1992, and in 2011 began working with the Swiss SAVE Foundation with the aim of securing a sustainable population of Dwarf cattle in the ​​Prespa basin, supported by the Animal Genetic Improvement Centre of Nea Mesimvria.

More than 1,800 plant species have been recorded in the Greek part of Prespa alone, together with 45 habitat types, 7 of which are important enough to be protected at EU level, while there are many local or regional endemic plants recognised around the basin.

This exceptional flora and vegetation has attracted the interest of plant experts from different countries, with whom the SPP has worked over many years to record and protect plant species and habitat types through conservation work. The flora of Prespa was extensively studied in the 1980s by Georgios Pavlidis, who left behind a large scientific heritage and collection of specimens. The habitat types of the Prespa National Park (PNP) in Greece and their status were recorded in 2011, and in 2020 the SPP published the definitive flora and vegetation of the Greek national park, the culmination of work by the Norwegian botanist, Prof. Arne Strid, Prof. Erwin Bergmeier from Germany and Greece’s Prof. Giorgos Fotiadis. More recently, the SPP has been preparing a floristic database of the Greek PNP, the largest of its kind for a national park in the Balkan peninsula, as well as digitising all the plant specimens from the Pavlidis collection.

Continuing earlier research efforts in the region, in the early 2000s the SPP organised voluntary bat research missions in all 3 countries of the Prespa basin, in collaboration with Groupe Mammalogique Breton from France. This research resulted in an action plan for Prespa’s bats in 2011, which set out measures to preserve a favourable conservation status for these species and the habitats that support them.

More recently the SPP has worked with the Municipality of Prespa to study the effect of light pollution on bat behaviour and replace the area’s public lighting systems with new systems that are more biodiversity-friendly for bat populations.