St. Andrew's Creation News

Creation News - Ukraine's Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve 

"A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure. It offers a necessity of life that must be rationed among those who have power over it. "       - Oliver Wendell Holmes

You take care of the earth,
    you water it,
        and you enrich it greatly with the river of God that overflows with water.
You provide grain for them,
    for you have ordained it this way.
Psalm 65:9

Location and a Brief Description

 The Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve is a labyrinth of water and land shared between Romania and Ukraine. It is made up of countless lakes, channels and islands at the end of a 2,860 km-long river. The Danube Delta is the largest European wetland and reed bed, and also constitutes Europe’s largest water purification system.
312 bird species can be found including the glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), the purple heron (Ardea purpurea), the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) and the largest population of great white pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus) in Europe.
The local population generally engages in traditional occupations such as fishing, agriculture, animal husbandry, reed harvesting and tourism. Fishing is the predominant and oldest occupation. Various ethnic minorities live in the Delta, the most representative of which are the Gagauz, Lipovans, Russians, Tartars, Turks and Ukrainians,

This reserve is home to a variety of rare and endangered species, such as medicinal and aromatic plants, and animal species included in the Red List of Threatened Species issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Two threatened species are the Houbara Bustard and the Egyptian Tortoise.


The Tarutino Steppe and Kulans

As part of the extended Danube Delta rewilding area, the 5200-hectare Tarutino Steppe is one of the very few remaining areas of steppe in Ukraine and Europe. Characterised by its expansive grassy plains (like all steppe areas), it is home to a wide range of rare flora and fauna. 

The Tarutino steppe is one
of the very few remaining areas of steppe in Europe. Characterized by its expansive grassy plains, it is home to many endangered species. Without human intervention, it would ordinarily be grazed by herds of wild herbivores, such as kulan, saiga antelope and deer, although these species have all disappeared, mainly due to hunting.

The Kulan (Equus hemionus) is known by many names such as the khulan, the Mongolian wild ass, the wild Asian ass and the onager. But no matter what it is called, never call this close relative of the donkey domesticated. Although there have been many attempts to tame individual kulans, all have been unsuccessful. This species refuses to bow to any master. (Source)

As the number of kulans on the Tarutino steppe increases, their impact on local biodiversity and food chains will grow. Their grazing will keep grass length short, benefitting animals such as souslik and steppe marmot and mitigating wildfire risk by reducing excess vegetation. Moreover, kulans, as well as marmots, European fallow deer, and other iconic species, which the Rewilding Ukraine team is also returning to the steppe, are interesting objects of observation, which will contribute to the development of ecotourism in the region.  (Source)

Resources and Videos

A Blessing for Ukraine

by Kate Bowler

God, the unthinkable has happened.

Swiftly, relentlessly,
by stealth and through open destruction,
the peace and beauty of the ordinary,
has been shattered in a day.O God of justice and might,
We call to you to come and bring this suffering to an end.
Comfort these trembling hearts.
Shield the vulnerable.

Strengthen those with the resources and the resolve
to protect what they love
in the face of such overwhelming force.

Grant wisdom to the nations of our world, to our leaders, and to us,
to grasp the unfathomable,
to see evil in its true light,
and come against it unflinchingly.

Dear Ukraine,
though we shudder to watch what is happening
We will not look away.

Beasts on the Ark

'Twas when the rain fell stady and the ark was pitched and ready,
And Noah got his orders for to take the bastes (beasts) below:
He haled them all together by the hid and horn and feather,
And all except the donkey were agreeable to go.

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