Centuries ago, in 1751, a meander of the Oglio River was rerouted by the construction of a canal that made the river more easily navigable. Over time, the abandoned arm of the Oglio developed into a marsh that soon became a favourable habitat for aquatic animals and plants. Today, the marsh is the heart of WWF’s Le Bine natural reserve, which is part of the South Oglio Regional Park and owes its curious name to a typical Lombard farmhouse, in the area since the late 18th century: its original name was bina, which in the dialect of the area means “shelter”, “stilt house” and “sluice”.
Le Bine houses a vital population of the Italian agile frog (Rana latastei), a symbol of the Oasis; this is an endemic species of the Po-Veneto valley, which is widespread from Piedmont to Slovenia, and belongs to the group of the so-called “red frogs”. These frogs live in plain and riparian forests, as long as there are wetlands they can use as deposition sites in late February. The Italian agile frog is one of the species with the highest conservation priority in Europe. Threats to this species include the destruction and fragmentation of its habitat, water pollution and the introduction of alien species, such as the Louisiana crawfish that has a negative impact especially on eggs and tadpoles.