December 12, 2023, 20:29

Tuzly Estuaries is the only reserve in southern Ukraine that has not been occupied and is working to detect ecocide caused by the actions of Russian invaders

The Tuzly Estuaries National Nature Park continues to operate and actively assists the Ukrainian military in preserving Ukrainian protected areas and waters.

Iryna Vykhrystiuk, director of the Tuzly Estuaries National Nature Park, told this during a briefing at the Ukraine-Odesa Media Center.

“For the second year in a row, we are the only park on the Azov-Black Sea coast that is working, not occupied and has never been occupied. Our team has been joined by employees of the Meotida National Park, people who fled the occupied territories and are now continuing their environmental work. It hurts me to see how much our nature and our industry have suffered: how many parks and reserves are occupied or in the war zone and suffer greatly from the invaders,” the director said.

Iryna Vykhrystiuk noted that at the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the nature park suffered greatly from the occupiers when they shelled the Ukrainian coast from the sea. After the destruction of the cruiser Moskva, it became much calmer. Now scientists and park staff can safely collect information and evidence of the ecocide of the Russian occupiers.

“We still have a lot of work to do to clear our water area of mines. Since the beginning of the invasion, shells have been flying into the estuaries and getting stuck in the silt. They need to be removed and neutralized. In addition, there are still mines in the Black Sea. We are actively helping our defenders, primarily border guards. The main task of the park is to protect, preserve and restore disturbed ecosystems. This year, we started work on restoring water exchange, but once again local poachers blocked our actions,” said Iryna Vykhrystiuk.

She summarized that the park’s legal proceedings with poachers and local authorities are ongoing, but all employees of Tuzly Estuaries do not stop their activities and carefully record all violations of Ukrainian legislation. Park’s team collects evidence of the crimes of the Russian occupiers and work to restore the natural environment.

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