Guide to SKOPJE

The Ezerani Rangers in their 20 million square meters office


Who can afford an office of 20 million square meters? Even 20 square meters sound like a pretty good working space, let alone something a million times bigger? On top of that, there is no single building in the whole world with so much office space. That would be the equivalent of about 50 of the biggest skyscrapers. And nobody has built this office, because it’s a work of nature.osmatracnica_ezerani _balkon3

While most of us work in weekdays and wait for a little precious spare time to spend in nature, some of us were lucky enough to have nature as their working place. Borche Lazarovski and Toni Dzepovski are two of the three rangers working in their 1.917 hectare “office”, better known as the Ezerani Nature Park. They watch it and protect it. Every day they patrol the whole area at least once, covering the whole northern coast of Lake Prespa, between the village of Asamati and the settlement of Sir Han.

borce1_ezerani_balkon3 djep2_ezerani_balkon3

– We travel through the park in our all-terrain vehicle, or we walk if needed. We manage to cover the area at least once a day. We have working hours, but we often need to work past that. What I really like about this job is that I work out in the open, in nature – Dzepovski told us.


The Ezerani Park is one of the most important places for European birds. Up to 42 percent of the bird species found in Europe can be spotted in that small area. Just like every wetland, it’s a gate between the land world and the water world, a place that attracts all the swimmers, the walkers, and especially the flyers among animal species. For many years the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) along with the Swiss Agency for development and cooperation, state officials and the local self-government put in a lot of effort to protect the area. The rangers unit works for three years now.

bel pelikan

Ezerani is very important for the birds. Among the most significant species is the white pelican. The birds are frequent in the park area especially in spring, when there are many flooded meadows and an abundance of food for them. Now they mostly stay closer to the coast – Lazarovski added.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that the park needs protection only when the birds visit it. It needs to be protected throughout the year, so it can keep its values. It’s not only important for the flying creatures in the whole world, but for the Lake Prespa, too. It helps purify the lake’s water, and sustain its biodiversity.


What is it that jeopardizes the park, anyway? It’s the usual suspects, illegal hunting and fishing, unauthorized sand excavation for civil construction, illegal logging, and dumping trash. That’s when Borche and Toni stand up to defend it. They may not be able to stop the use of pesticides and the pollution of the park’s surroundings, which surely has a negative effect on the nature inside. But the direct destruction shall not pass.


The rangers are the people that would halt every passer-by, not to show them the way out, but to help them. They will tell visitors where they can and cannot walk in order to not endanger the fragile ecosystems, and to help the people find their way around. If somebody breaks the law and jeopardizes the nature, they stop them from doing that, with the help of the other state services. Depending on the nature of the occurrences, there may be a new phone call in the public hygiene, forestry, hunting and fishery, mineral excavation or other departments.


– Nobody has ever tried to escape from us. Where would they go, anyway? We needed to intervene more often in the past, but as time passed and the locals learned the do’s and the don’ts of the park, our interventions become more scarce. We’re still always ready. Our goal is above all to try to reach an understanding with the people, like human beings to. To avoid the trouble – Dzepovski stresses out.


Finally, is the park safe? Maybe a ranger unit of 3 people couldn’t stop an invasion of abusers of nature. But the goal cannot be to deploy a whole army to shut down the entire area and introduce 24-hour guarding. Natural trasures can be protected only if everybody cares for them, and the rangers say that themselves, too. That’s why it’s much better to educate the residents and the visitors about what they can and cannot do in Ezerani, and to keep Toni and Borche there to look after them and just remind them about the rules.

Goce Trpkovski