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Restoration of the unique Danube Delta ecosystem

17 Jul, 2020
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Restoration of the unique Danube Delta ecosystem

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The herd of water buffaloes settled on the Ermakov Island


Water buffaloes that lived in the Danube Delta about 50 years ago are returning to our region again.

The first herd of seven water buffaloes was released on Ermakov Island in the Danube Biosphere Reserve at the end of May 2019 as part of the project “Restoring the Wetlands and Steppes of the Danube Delta Region” to help preserving the island's mosaic landscapes and biodiversity.

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This herd was brought from Transcarpathia from the Tisa valley, where a small number of water buffalo were still preserved on farms. They were carefully collected by German ecologist and activist Michel Jacobi.

Michel Jacobi is a german ecologists visited Transcarpathia eleven years ago and immediately fell in love with the land, animals and people and have lived here ever since, managing and working a few different pieces of land. Together with Rike de Vries a german downshifter they like older ways of life and community. 

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Rike de Vries and Michel Jacobi

Ermakov island, which is administratively included in the Odessa region, is planning to attract eco-tourists. According to Mikhail Nesterenko, Executive Director of Rewilding Ukraine, water buffaloes are a kind of natural "architects" of nature - unsurpassed seed distributors.

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Like large herbivores, they thin out shrubs and reeds, create small pools and puddles in which various insects, amphibians and fish can settle. One animal can transfer seeds of more than 200 plant species in the wool and digestive system

Mikhail Nesterenko
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The ecosystem of the Ermakov island was restored with the support of WWF Ukraine about ten years ago. At the moment, the island is one of the richest in terms of biodiversity territories of the Danube Biosphere Reserve. Many species of birds live here, for example, curly and pink pelicans, white-tailed eagle and others.


The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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