The Huchen or Danube Salmon is one of the most enigmatic species of Europe’s freshwater fauna. It is a sensitive indicator species for some of the most ecologically valuable rivers in the Danube drainage. Historically, the species was wide-spread across the entire Danube basin. Since the late 19th century, however, Huchen populations declined by two thirds and the remaining populations are now highly endangered by hydropower development. But knowledge on the distribution of the Huchen on the Balkan Peninsula has been incomplete. In this study, we review the actual occurrence of Huchen in the Balkan region. A total of 1842 river km supporting self-sustaining populations of Huchen in the Balkan region have been identified, making the region the global hot spot for the species. These populations are found in 43 rivers or distinct river reaches in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro. About 65% of all Huchen rivers globally are located in these countries, highlighting the importance of Balkan Rivers for the survival of the species.
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