Ukraine, Romania, Moldova

Danube Delta

Europe’s unrivalled wetlands

Where the mighty Danube river meets the Black Sea, it has created a massive deltaland, Europe’s largest wetland area. It is still surprisingly wild and relatively undestroyed.

The 580,000 hectare delta is home to massive amounts of waterbirds of all kinds, most notably pelicans of two species, herons, storks, cormorants and terns. It is a favourite staging area for passage migrants and also wintering grounds for masses of migrating waterbirds from the steppes, the boreal forests and the tundras further north.

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Danube Delta

Here also lie some of Europe’s very few remaining grazed mosaic forest landscapes, the beautiful woodlands of Letea and Caraorman. Beavers are slowly making their return into the area, the area holds healthy populations of golden jackal while white-tailed eagles show a remarkable comeback.

Rewilding vision

For each rewilding landscape Rewilding Europe has developed an inspiring vision that shows their ambition for the next ten years. Together with their local partners they work to make this vision a reality.

Rewilding Efforts

One of the least populated areas in Europe, the Danube Delta offers a unique opportunity to restore a whole spectrum of biodiverse habitats – from open estuarine systems, naturally grazed grassland and vast reed beds through to freshwater marshes, coastal lagoons, shallow lakes and riverine forests.

Working with partners, the rewilding team is working to significantly improve the ecological integrity and natural functioning of 40,000 hectares of wetland and terrestrial delta habitat, using rewilding principles at on a landscape scale. Revitalised and self-governing natural processes, particularly flooding and natural grazing, will govern landscape formation, driving other natural processes, wildlife comeback, increased biodiversity and the development of a nature-based economy.

The Danube Delta, the largest river delta wetland in Europe, has become one of the finest, wildest, best-protected and most famous wildlife areas of the whole continent. The area provides new sources of income and pride for the people who live here and in the surrounding Romanian, Ukrainian and Moldavian regions. Also, the Danube Delta inspires people in other natural areas to approach their problems and opportunities also using rewilding as a tool.
Greater Côa Valley frog
Greater Côa Valley frog

Trips to the Danube Delta

Coming soon

“Danube Delta is a truly unique ecosystem”

Mykhailo Nesterenko
Rewilding Ukraine team leader

How would you characterise your rewilding area?
The Danube Delta is Europe’s largest remaining natural wetland – a truly unique ecosystem. The delta region includes extensive examples of unaltered rivers, lakes, reed beds, marshes, steppes, dunes, sandbars, coasts, lagoons, salt marshes and climax forests. Local communities in the Danube Delta (the Danube Delta Sub-Basin District supports more than one million people) have little knowledge and limited capacity to use ecosystems in an economically and ecologically sustainable way, directly impacting living standards and biodiversity. With the delta acting as a historic crossroads, this is an extremely diverse region in terms of nationalities, with each preserving its customs and traditions.

What have the major achievements been in your rewilding area to date?
The restoration of large islands in the Danube Biosphere Reserve, one of the most successful wetland restoration projects in the region. Also a number of community-based projects, in collaboration with the muncipality of Orlovka. These have included local wetland restoration, the reintroduction of water buffalo for natural grazing, and the establishment of a nature park to generate income for the community. We now take this work further as Rewilding Ukraine.

What would you like to see achieved in your rewilding area in the next five years?
We have a fairly ambitious plan to restore large wetlands in the Danube Delta, as well as steppes in the Danube Delta region. I would also like to see more large herbivores introduced, and the further development of several nature-based economic initiatives. All of this will build on our past success and the partnerships that we have forged over almost two decades of conservation work on the Ukrainian side of the delta.

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