“Danube Delta is a truly unique ecosystem”
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.