December 12, 2023, 20:35

Dolphins suffered the most from Russian occupants in the Black Sea – scientist

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022, the Russian occupiers have caused many losses to Ukrainian nature: both flora and fauna. But dolphins have suffered the most – about 50 thousand of them have died.

This was stated by Ivan Rusev, Head of the Scientific Department of the Tuzly Estuaries National Nature Park, Doctor of Biological Sciences, at a briefing at the Ukraine-Odesa Media Center.

“We still have a lot of unexploded shells in the estuaries and in the sea. This is a big problem. Our steppes were burning, forests were burning because of the arrivals. The sandy spoil was burning. Because of this, bird species that used to nest in our estuaries disappeared. We have documented everything as evidence of the crimes of the Russian Federation,” the scientist said.

But the biggest environmental problem caused by the Russian invasion is the death of Black Sea dolphins: in 2022, many animals were found dead on the shore of the reserve, and many of them were found on other shores of the Black Sea – in Romania, Bulgaria, occupied Crimea, and Russia.

“We collected material about the dead dolphins and other animals. We documented every dead mammal. Before the full-scale invasion, we explored and studied 44 km of the Tuzla estuaries’ coastline. And we found three dead dolphins a year there. And now we have 6 km: and we found 37 dead dolphins there. According to our observations and calculations, a total of 50 thousand dolphins have died in the Black Sea since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. This is a fact confirmed by various sources. We have published our research.  And it will serve as proof of the ecocide of the Russian invaders. Unfortunately, we have not yet seen the results of laboratory tests of the dolphins we sent for examination. But I think it’s a matter of time,” Ivan Rusev said.

The scientist said that the park’s employees are collecting information about the birds. After Ukrainian defenders liberated Zmeinyi Island and the occupiers left the northwestern part of the Black Sea, pink flamingos began to settle in the Tuzly Estuaries National Park. Scientists have counted 570 of them. But some birds have left the estuaries and no longer come at all.

“No colonies of cormorants have formed. There are much fewer birds that hunt fish – herons, pelicans. Nature responds to war. And its restoration is possible only after Ukraine’s victory,” summarized Ivan Rusev.

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