Nature reserve with wildlife deserts dubbed as Europe’s Amazon

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Nature reserve with wildlife deserts dubbed as Europe's Amazon

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

Valeri Stepanenko Oleksandrovych is a forest ranger at the Drevlyansky nature reserve in northern Ukraine. In February, Russia fired rockets, missiles, and artillery rounds across this border. Russian artillery munitions set up forest fires that consumed more than 2,000 hectares. Polissia is home to species like lynx, wolf and moose that have long since vanished from the rest of Europe. Russian invasion was not Polissia’s first calamity. One of their vehicles struck a landmine at the beginning of September, killing one of the passengers.

There is ample evidence of the financial and human costs of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, the invaders’ destructive use of weapons and explosives has also severely damaged unique species of animals and flora that had thrived in the country’s north, and it is feared that it would take them decades to recover.

While watching the news constantly, Valeri Stepanenko Oleksandrovych is flanked by guys carrying Kalashnikovs and wearing a soldier’s uniform.

He works as a forest ranger at the Drevlyansky nature reserve in northern Ukraine, helping to police what was once a beautiful wildlife sanctuary. It is a region so abundant in species with its marshes, lakes, woodlands, and heathland that it has even been dubbed Europe’s Amazon.

However, it is in a dangerous region of the world and is only 15 miles from the Belarusian border, so Mr. Stepanenko has good reason to be cautious.

In February, Russia fired rockets, missiles, and artillery rounds across this border. They were followed by an armoured invasion column that advanced to the southern suburbs of Kyiv before being forced back by Ukrainian soldiers equipped with the newest Western weapons.

Perched on a downed log next to a forest footpath, Mr. Stepanenko declares, “Russian land mines.” “The worst thing the invasion left behind was that. They also started woodland fires with their shelling. ”
On February 24, Russian forces invaded Ukraine from three directions: from Belarus to the north; their land to the east; and Crimea, which they had taken over and annexed in 2014.

It is reasonable to suppose that President Putin’s priorities when he ordered his tanks rolling across the border were probably not the high-priority preservation of Ukraine’s rarer flora and fauna.

Russian artillery munitions fired into northern Ukraine set up forest fires that consumed more than 2,000 hectares (almost 5,000 acres) of the previously uninhabited forest, scattering wildlife and destroying hundreds of other rare flora.

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Wildlife will not be returning to this region of Ukraine anytime soon from the burnt and blackened tree stumps. Simply put, they have nothing to eat and nowhere to hide.

Additionally, Narodychi, a nearby town, was hit by shells. According to the Ukrainians, local collaborators there assisted the Russian invaders by directing their artillery fire at army concentrations.

According to Mr. Stepanenko, “We still have to be on the lookout for infiltrators across from Belarus.”

This would account for the heavily equipped Ukrainian patrols we saw close to the border. These patrols consisted of small groups of fit-looking soldiers with sniper rifles, walkie-talkies, and panting Alsatians.
This area of Ukraine is located in a region on the map known as Polissia, which also includes parts of Belarus, Poland, and Russia. It is home to species like lynx, wolf, and moose that have long since vanished from the majority of the rest of Europe.

The Russian invasion was not Polissia’s first calamity. The Chernobyl nuclear power plant’s four reactors erupted on April 26, 1986, spewing a cloud of highly radioactive particles across Europe and poisoning sections of northern Ukraine with radionuclides.

Most of the isolated villages and cottages in this region of Ukraine were abandoned when the human population was hastily evacuated to safety, even though Chernobyl is only 40 miles (65 km) away.

But despite that catastrophe, wildlife managed to survive and even benefited from the sudden disappearance of humans.
Two wolf packs have existed in this area, and the Polissian wolf is one of the giant wolves in the world, according to Mr. Stepanenko. They used to skirt around the villages before Chernobyl, but now, if it’s convenient for them, they’ll drive right past them at night.

The Ukrainian portion of Polissia now faces a very different issue due to the Russians’ landmines. Unlike Ukraine, Russia is not a signatory to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Since their invasion, Russian forces have placed at least seven distinct types of anti-personnel mines around the nation, most of which are in unmarked minefields.

This implies that the gravel tracks that the rangers used to patrol are now too unsafe to use here in the northern woodlands. One of their vehicles struck a landmine at the beginning of September, killing one of the passengers and seriously hurting another.

“We occasionally come across the carcass of a deer that has been mined,” adds Mr. Stepanenko. The wildlife is blind to them. It’s unfortunate. ”

How long will it take to restore safety to the area?

He draws deeply on his cigarette before turning his gaze upward to the gently waving pine branches in the fall breeze. years, he replies. Then, turning around, he says, “Decades, in fact,” while he sighs.

Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network

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