Croatian Nature park Kopački rit is located on the most southeast part of Croatia, near the cities of Osijek and Bilj. It is the lowland part of Baranja’s geographical unit. It spreads north from the river Drava, from the mouth of river Drava to the river Dunav, and Dunav upstream. The whole area of Baranja doesn’t extend more than 250 meters above sea level and the park area is located on its lowest part, about 78 meters (bottom of the lake Kopačko) up to 86 meters above sea level.
The relief of the Croatian Nature park Kopački rit is a result of flooding and the layout of ponds give this area a unique look. The whole flooding area looks like a delta. In this middle part of the stream the river Dunav, with the help of river Drava, creates this so called inside delta. This phenomenon is not known with other European rivers and gives this area world known significance. It was included into the Ramsar list of areas in 1993 (a list of areas protected by the Convection of wetlands, especially as habitats for the birds).
The main reason for the variety of flora in the Croatian Nature park Kopački rit is the micro relief. On one hand, there are many different kinds of forests and on the other hand there is a lot of water and swamp like vegetation. The remainder of steppes is located near Kopački rit. In that area around 140 species of plants has been recorded, some of them being very rare (Hungarian iris etc.).
The biggest water area inside the park is covered with swamp vegetation with numerous populations. For example, the population of sedges, duckweeds and many others. Of plants in the swamp area there is European white water-lily, Carolina mosquitofern, Black sedge, Grass rush, Common reed…
Of the forest populations in Croatian Nature park Kopački rit, the largest area is covered by the White willow. It can withstand large and long-term floods. On higher terrains, where floods are short-term, are forests of the White willow and the Black poplar. On even higher grounds are forest of the English oak, German greenweed and European hornbeam.
The animal kingdom of the park is made of molluscs, insects (dragonflies, stag beetle, mosquitos, ground beetles, diurnal butterflies…), fishes (Prussian carp, Pike, River carp, Common catfish, Zander), amphibians (Fire salamander, European fire-bellied toad…), reptiles (European pond turtle, Smooth snake…), birds and mammals.
To this day in Kopački rit has been recorded 293 species of birds of total 375 that live in Croatia. Some of them are the White stork, Black stork, Purple heron, Wild duck, Ring-necked pheasant, Black-headed gull, Wild goose, Eastern imperial eagle, White-tailed eagle, Grey heron and many others. Every year around 140 species of birds nest in Kopački rit.
The mammalian fauna of the park, according to recent research, consists of 54 species, which is more than half of the known species that live in Croatia. This fauna consists of Wild boars, Eurasian beaver, Eurasian otter, deer and many others.
Croatian Nature park Kopački rit has a big touristic value in Osječko-baranjska county. Beside the rich flora and fauna and preserved nature, the area has rich cultural and historical heritage. In the village Tikveš, there is a hunting/residential court complex from the 19th century. The village tourism and ecotourism are developing fast and the stronger form of tourism is hunting and fishing.