Russians prepare to steal animals from Europe’s largest steppe reserve

November 7,2023 1090
Russians prepare to steal animals from Europe’s largest steppe reserve

In Kherson Oblast, the Russian occupation administration is plotting to appropriate animals from the Askania-Nova reserve, as reported by Viktor Shapoval, the Head of the Falz-Fein Askania Nova Biosphere Reserve under the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Although the threat is deemed credible, no actual relocation has occurred as of now.

According to the National Resistance Center, Russian authorities are purportedly intent on transporting these distinct creatures to the Krasnodar Safari Park. Furthermore, there are unverified claims that the relocation process may have already commenced.

“The theft takes place within the framework of the “cooperation agreement.” The corresponding agreement is not valid because it is signed by a Russian protégé who is not a manager on behalf of the Ukrainian reserve,” the NRC explained.

“These “animal exchange” actions will be a gross violation of the CITES Convention, ratified by the Ukrainian parliament (similarly, Russia is a signatory party),” the management of the reserve said.

The Russians are simply stealing animals and destroying a unique reserve. Previously, Russian military personnel were spotted on the territory of Askania Nova, the NRC says. “Everyone responsible for this crime will bear responsibility after the region’s liberation,” the NRC emphasized.

The Russians occupied the reserve on the first day of a full-scale invasion. Since then, the unique territory has been under threat of destruction – there is an uncontrolled movement of Russian troops, fires, and shelling, which is incompatible with the tasks of nature protection. Donations and contributions have so far financed the purchase of fodder for animals and other expenses.

Askania-Nova is a biosphere reserve in southern Ukraine, founded in 1874. This is a unique territory not only for Ukraine but also for the whole world. Askania-Nova is the largest steppe reserve in Europe, visited by about 140 thousand tourists annually.

Currently, the protected area has the status of a UNESCO biosphere reserve. In addition, Askania-Nova is the largest area of virgin steppes that has not been plowed in Ukraine.

There were at least 1,155 species of arthropods, 7 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 18 species of mammals on the reserve territory. At different times of the year, more than 270 species of birds flew there, of which 107 species remain for nesting. In addition, 478 higher plants were growing.