Dimitris Vavylis, the Greek conservationist and photographer, continues his photo mission along the Black-Sea Mediterranean Flyway of the Dalmatian pelican. This time he visited the picturesque wetlands of Bulgaria and also the gorgeous Danube delta – one of Europe’s last truly wild places, as the photographer said. Read the blog accompanied by the stunning shots from the region to find out more about the life of the pelicans and the conservation efforts of the “Pelican Way Of LIFE” initiative, coordinated by Rewilding Europe.
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.
At the end of May, a field expedition organized by Rewilding Ukraine to conduct scientific counts of the Dalmatian pelican and a photo mission took place in the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta, as part of the “Pelican Way of LIFE” project. The counts were conducted by Maxim Yakovlev, an ornithologist at the Danube Biosphere Reserve, who has been photographing nature and the inhabitants of this picturesque region for more than 15 years. He was assisted by zoologist Alexander Gaidash.
Mykhailo Nesterenko, a biologist and leader of the rewilding team in Ukraine, explains what rewilding is, what this new approach can give to the nature and people of the Danube Delta, and what challenges and hopes the Ukrainian team faces. He also shares some of his own background and what rewilding means for him personally.
Olivia-Petra Coman is a traveler and writer from Romania with a great passion for the outdoors and animals. She tells the story of paddling the last spring together with her boyfriend across the Ukrainian and Romanian parts of the Danube Delta, a story about chasing pelicans, recalling traditions, and connecting the two lands.