For many years a network of dykes and canals have choked the life out of the Danube Delta. Rewilding efforts in the Ukrainian part of the delta are now restoring water flow, enhancing wildlife populations and benefitting local communities.
The Danube Delta is one of Rewilding Europe’s nine large rewilding areas. Rewilding Ukraine, being a non-governmental organization and a proud partner of the Rewilding Europe network, is working to revitalize and rewild landscapes of the Danube Delta by encouraging wildlife comeback, reintroducing lost species, and providing space for wildlife to flourish and communities to thrive. Integral to the success is the involvement of people, communities and businesses.
Despite the difficult weather conditions, at the end of December 2021, winter survey of the Dalmatian pelican took place in Ukraine. It was organized simultaneously with similar surveys in other Eastern European countries. This year’s results give hope: three and a half times more pelicans are left to spend the winter in the Danube Delta than last year.
Dear friends, partners, and supporters, with the year approaching to an end we would like to look back and reflect on some of the major achievements we have made together this year from restoring the swathes of delta landscape, return of the wildlife, and to support of local economies and awareness-raising.
The arrival of 20 more kulan on the Tarutino Steppe is part of a long-term reintroduction programme. The animals will fill an important ecological niche and enhance biodiversity.
About a thousand years ago, large, wild herbivores started to disappear from Europe. Hunting, poaching and loss of biotope led to their decline. And with the vanishing of those large animals, their behaviour and its influence on the environment stopped too. Not only their grazing behaviour and its effect on vegetation but also the wallowing, rooting and digging. As for the last one, wild bulls used to dig pits in the rutting season to impress the opponents and the cows. As it appears now, these pits were hotspots for pioneer plants and insects.
3 red deers and 3 fallow deers settled on the Ermakiv island in the Danube Biosphere Reserve as part of the partnership between Rewilding Ukraine and Feldman Ecopark. Animals will complement the natural grazing on the island and promote eco-tourism in the region.
At the beginning of November, the work on restoring the connection of the Staronekrasovsky floodplains in Ukraine with the Danube River was completed. For the first time in many years, the Hromadsky canal has become flowing again, which will bring Staronekrasovsky floodplains back to life. The work, carried out by the Izmail Department of Water Management, Rewilding Ukraine and the Center for Regional Studies, is the first step towards restoring the Lung, Safyany and Katlabuh lakes.
A group of steppe marmots, translocated to the Tarutino Steppe in 2020, are acclimatising well to their new home. Their release into the wild, which is part of a long-term reintroduction programme, is helping to create a more ecologically complex steppe environment.
On September 25, the unique Tarutino steppe hosted the ethno-eco festival “Tarutino steppe” organized by Rewilding Ukraine and its partners Borodino Territorial Community and the Center for Ethnographic, Rural Tourism and Family Recreation “Frumushika-Nova”. The guests of the festival ate deliciously, had fun and got acquainted with the culture and nature of the region.