Recent visit to Ukraine

Last week European Wilderness Society team conducted a number of events in the Ukraine.

Among them:

  • Seminar “Future of the Wilderness and UNESCO World Heritage site in the Ukraine”
  • Exhibition “Human and Wilderness coexistence“
  • Visit to Local farmer on Herd Protection issue
  • Visit to National Nature Park Zacharovanyy kray
  • Visit to local green-tourism house owner
  • Meetings with our local partners

Seminar on Wilderness and UNESCO

It was a pleasure for us to meet our long-term partners from Ministry of Environment and Nature Resources of Ukraine, protected areas, NGOs as well as to discuss with new partners future common projects.

We informed our partners regarding European Wilderness Audit procedures, already certified Wildernesses in Ukraine as well as about our plans.

As up to now we have such Certified Wilderness in the Ukraine

Wilderness in Ukraine Size of Wilderness Wilderness Label
Gorgany Wilderness 4 800 ha Gold
Hoverla Wilderness 4 477 ha Bronze
Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest 1 370 ha Bronze
Mala Uholka WILDRiver  7 km Platinum
Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver  9 km Platinum
Synenyr Wilderness 4 580 ha Silver
Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness 7 117 ha Platinum
Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest  7 117 ha Platinum
Velyka Uholka WILDRiver  8 km Platinum
Zacharovanyy Kray Wilderness 1 332 ha Bronze
Zacharovanyy Kray WILDForest  1 332 ha Bronze

In our closest plans in Ukraine:

  • Full audit of Synevyr Wilderness
  • Full audit of Kuziy-Trebushany WILDForest
  • Full audit of  Hoverla Wilderness
  • Quick Audit of issue of Tysa river
  • Quick Audit of Dniester river

On behalf of European Beech forest Network, we also made a presentation and moderated discussion on Challenges and threats to the UNESCO World Heritage site “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe”: management, zonation, tourism, particularly according to World Heritage Committee, Decision 41 COM 8B.7 as part of the 41st session, July 7th 2017). Participants also discussed how European Beech forest Network can support Ukrainian partners.

Among biggest challenges Ukrainian partners mentioned: lack of funding, lack of educational activities and awareness raising campaign, as well as insufficient protection of the World Heritage.

Exhibition

Adult and young visitors of the exhibition were interested to hear (and to see full-size wooden figures) about large carnivores of Europe, their return and how to behave during encounter with them, as well as about modern herd protection management.

Ecological educators, which visited exhibition, were interested in receiving own sets of exhibition exponents for their own use, as well as in educational activities to be further conducted by the European Wilderness Society.

Some of them, who saw our Wild 5 Journal for the first time, recognized it as a great educational tool.

Both events were hosted by the Window on America resource-informational centre.

Visit to National Nature Park Zacharovanyy kray

We were glad to visit the First Certified Wilderness in the Ukraine- Zacharovanyy kray, where first of all the Ceremony of European Wilderness Network Member flag raising took place. We had a conversation on opportunities but also challenges and threats following the inclusion of some of park territory to UNESCO World Heritage site. We also discussed awareness raising, European Wilderness Expert Exchange visits as well as youth educational activities to be jointly conducted by our two organizations.

Herd Protection visit

It was good to be informed that some of Ukrainian farmers are aware of the return of large carnivores, have some knowledge and are already taking some protection measures, like dogs and electric fences. But there is still a lot to be learnt about up-to-date effective electric fences and other protection measures as well as about large carnivores.

Green tourism

During the meeting with local green-tourism house owner we discussed possibility of introduction simple camping sites, tourists’ waste reduction measures, cooperation with National Nature Park on sustainable tourism.

In principal, our international team was satisfied with the visit and next trip to Ukraine is scheduled for the end of July and first part of August, when we will conduct Wild Art event in Synevyr.

Iryna Shchoka

Iryna Shchoka is a regional development expert and is based in Uzhhorod, Ukraine.

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