News

The Search for European Mink in Almany

Last month, three biologists working with the Polesia – Wilderness without borders project set off into the vast Almany Mires. Their mission: to search for a particularly elusive species – the critically endangered European mink (Mustela lutreola). The species has not been sighted in Belarus for 20 years. Some suspect them to have been completely wiped out in the country, but if there is one…

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The Next Generation of Protected Areas in Polesia

A 10,000 hectare expansion of the Almany Mires Nature Reserve in the Belarusian part of Polesia was announced by the Republic’s Council of Ministries on March 3rd 2021. The reserve now spans over 104,000 hectares (about the size of Hong Kong) – securing Europe’s largest intact transition mire and crucial habitat for globally threatened wildlife. Together with protected areas across the border in…

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Almany Mires Reserve Expanded

A 10,000 hectare expansion of the Almany Mires Nature Reserve in the Belarusian part of Polesia was announced by the Republic’s Council of Ministries on March 3rd 2021. The reserve now spans over 104,000 hectares (about the size of Hong Kong) – securing Europe’s largest intact transition mire and crucial habitat for globally threatened wildlife. Together with protected areas across the border in…

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Polesia: a vast wetland wilderness

The world's wetlands are disappearing three times faster than its forests, with 90% lost since the 1700s. These vanishing ecosystems play a crucial role in storing and cleaning water, mitigating flood damage, sustaining biodiversity, providing us with food and storing huge amounts of carbon.

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Aerial photos with a drone over the River Pripyat, Polesie, Belarus. © Viktar Malyshchyts

Guardians of Polesia

In Belarus and Ukraine local communities from Polesia are coming together to volunteer for the protection of the incredible wilderness they call home. Local ‘volunteer caretakers’ are donating their time to protect Polesia’s reserves and key wildlife areas. The ‘Polesia – Wilderness without borders’ Project (referred to as Wild Polesia hereafter), with support from the Endangered Landscapes…

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Protecting migratory birds and their habitat in Polesia

As the season begins to turn in the vast wetlands, mires and forests of Polesia, the southward movement of several key migratory bird species has begun. Polesia is one of Europe’s largest intact wetland areas and as such is one of its most important sites for migratory birds, and in particular waders and waterfowl.

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Insect monitoring

Alongside our restoration of mires in the core of Polesia, we are monitoring insect communities to understand the impact of our activities on ecosystem health. Our field team has just retrieved the first samples of insects from Malaise traps installed last month. Polesia is among the largest landscapes of natural wetlands in Europe. However, the biodiversity and stability of this ecosystem…

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Sunset at the Turov Meadows. © Elleni Vendras

Maksim-wolf: a beloved colleague and friend

To our great sadness, our fieldwork assistant and dear friend Maksim Belotsky passed away on Friday, May 22. Maksim was only 35 years old. In our team we used to call him Maksim-wolf because of his fascination for wolves. Maksim was an extremely motivated, passionate and engaged colleague. He started to work for APB-BirdLife Belarus back in 2018. The fact that at first, he was denied the job he…

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Return of Greater Spotted Eagles

Last July, we satellite tagged the fifteenth Greater Spotted Eagle in Polesia. Since then, the eagles have spent the winter in Southern Europe or Africa before returning to their breeding grounds this spring and despite the chaos caused by COVID-19, data collection on their breeding ecology has begun. Luckily, social distancing is not too difficult in the remote mires of Polesia...

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Burnt areas and fires on Turov Meadows. © Maksim Belotsky

Fighting fires through wetland restoration

Following a devastating wildfire season in Polesia, action should upsurge to restore mires - an effective measure to stem even more frequent and destructive fires in the future. This April, vast wildfires that raged across Polesia in Ukraine and Belarus made news worldwide. The restoration of important mire systems could help stem devastating increases in the frequency and intensity of the…

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The project “Polesia – Wilderness Without Borders” is part of the Endangered Landscapes Programme and is funded by Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. The project is coordinated by Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and implemented in collaboration with APB-Birdlife Belarus, the Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Birds (USPB), and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).