Black Sea Biosphere Reserve

Image - The Black Sea Biosphere Reserve. Image - The Black Sea Biosphere Reserve. Image - The Black Sea Biosphere Reserve. Image - The Black Sea Biosphere Reserve.

Black Sea Biosphere Reserve (Чорноморський біосферний заповідник; Chornomorskyi biosfernyi zapovidnyk). A state nature preserve located on the sandy banks of the lower Dnipro River and the coast and the islands of the Tendriv Bay and Yahorlyk Bay of the Black Sea. The preserve was established in 1927 as part of a larger Black Sea preserve and it became a separate Black Sea Nature Reserve in 1933. In 1998 UNESCO designated the preserve as a biosphere reserve under the United Nations’ Man and the Biosphere program and its name was changed to the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve.

The preserve covers 14,158 ha of dry land and 74,971 ha of water (in 2007, total 89,129 ha) and constitutes the largest nature preserve in Ukraine. It was created to protect nesting, wintering, and migratory birds and to preserve the natural environment. The steppe section of the preserve—the Yahorlyk Kut Peninsula and Potiivka—consists of the remains of the Black Sea steppes and is inhabited by such rare birds as the great bustard (Otis tarda), the little bustard (Tetrax tetrax), and the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) and smaller animals such as the acclimatized bobak marmot (Marmota bobak).

In the forest-steppe sections are found the remains of island forests and small groves (kolky) of oak, birch, and willow trees. The pheasant and the sika deer (Cervus nippon), which was brought in 1957 from the Askaniia-Nova Nature Reserve, are acclimatized here. Numerous sea gulls (genus Larus), swallows, snipe, ducks, and grouse nest here. Whooper and mute swans (Cygnus cygnus, Cygnus alor) and wild ducks in large flocks winter in the inlets. Among the migratory birds that pass through the reservation are numerous geese of various species, such as the white-fronted goose and the lesser white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons, Anser erythropus). The only nesting ground in the former USSR of the Mediterranean black-headed sea gull is located here.

[This article was updated in 2009.]

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