Making it real

The focus of our rewilding work is on the reintroduction of beaver and red deer, the start of a Tauros breeding site, a pilot for sustainable fisheries and wetland restoration on a number of areas. We are working on what is called “community conservation”. Together with the local population, we are helping to develop wildlife watching tourism which can provide more income and opportunity to these communities. Part of that work is to help develop rewilding enterprises that create business, jobs and income to the people who live here.

Aerials over the Danube delta, Danube delta rewilding area, Romania

In 2016, Rewilding Europe and WWF Romania joined forces in the Danube Delta rewilding area with a goal to help develop the Danube Delta as one of the finest, best-protected and most famous nature destinations of the whole continent.
Staffan Widstrand / Rewilding Europe

Two core areas have been identified in Romania around the villages of C.A. Rosetti/Letea and Sfântu Gheorghe respectively, which are the starting points for the rewilding actions. In Ukraine, rewilding efforts focus on the outer delta of the Danube Biosphere Reserve, where we will work on wetland restoration, wildlife comeback, the development of nature-based businesses, and communication. Pilot sites will include Ermakov Island, Zebriynay Ridge, areas in the upper delta of Izmail Landscape Park, and the western group of Danube lakes (Kagul, Kartal, Kugurlui and Yalpug).

 With the incentive of creating “community conservation” – the first of their kind in Europe – missing wildlife species such as red deer and beaver will return and natural grazing systems will be started up using Tauros cattle, konik horses, water buffalo and possibly kulan (wild ass). The issues around some old habits – like poaching and the poisoning of predators – need clarification and, if still practiced they need to be stopped. With the wolf living not far from the delta, a natural come-back of the species should be possible, provided that there is an acceptance for it from the major local parties.

Outside investors are encouraged to get involved in investing in the conservation enterprises, run by professional operators in collaboration with the local communities. To improve the ecological integrity of the landscape and the nature experience for the visitors, some old infrastructure that is not in use –  rusting watchtowers, old electric power line structures and ruins without historical value – will be removed. Potential wilderness/rewilding areas in the rest of the delta will be identified, and the principle of wild nature and wilderness will be promoted as part of local development plans and the management plan for the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. Collaboration will also be sought with surrounding areas, like the Dobrogea Hills with the Macinului Mountain National Park. The rewilding areas in the Danube delta region will eventually also be connected through ecological corridors within the Lower Danube Green Corridor (ranging from the source of the Danube all the way downstream to the delta) supported through the Natura 2000 and the Emerald Network of reserves. The rewilding areas on the Romanian side will be linked up to rewilded areas in the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta.