ICPR – International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine

Fauna and flora

Many hundreds of animal and plant species live in the innumerable different habitats along the Rhine and its tributaries.

Each species is adapted to the particular ecological characteristics of its habitat, to water temperature, velocity of current, oxygen and nutrient content.

The presence of a particular species permits conclusions regarding the ecological state of the habitat. Therefore, some fish typical of a specific habitat and other water organisms serve as indicators for the ecological state. Plankton and water fowl also play an important role.

The last biological inventories showed that many species of fish as well as invertebrate fauna (including snails, insect larvae, and mussels) that were regarded as extinct in the Rhine have returned.

In spite of this success, today’s aquatic communities in the Rhine are far from having reached a stable balance.

The unnatural and uniform state of the Rhine and its tributaries enhance the development of ubiquists and of immigrated species with low demands to ecological status. With a view to improving biological diversity, rivers must become more varied and sub-natural.

Learn more about animals and plants in the Rhine and read the ICPR technical report no. 280.

Did you know ...

that, in 1966, even a whale lived in the Rhine for a short time?

For one month, the white whale baptized „Moby Dick“ swam upriver as far as Bonn and then returned into the North Sea.

Today the passenger ship „Moby Dick“ belonging to the Bonner-Personen-Schifffahrt reminds of this visitor from the North Sea.