Europe’s unrivalled wetland


Europe’s unrivalled wetland

Europe’s unrivalled wetland


Europe’s unrivalled wetland

Europe’s unrivalled wetland

Magnus Lundgren / Wild Wonders of Europe

Europe’s unrivalled wetland

Europe’s unrivalled wetland


Europe’s unrivalled wetland

Europe’s unrivalled wetland

Magnus Lundgren / Wild Wonders of Europe

Europe’s unrivalled wetland

Where the mighty Danube river meets the Black Sea, it has created a massive delta land, Europe’s largest wetland area. It is still surprisingly wild and relatively undestroyed.

The 580,000 hectare delta is home to massive amounts of waterbirds of all kinds, most notably pelicans of two species, herons, storks, cormorants and terns. It is a favourite staging area for passage migrants and also wintering grounds for masses of migrating waterbirds from the steppes, the boreal forests and the tundras further north.

Here also lie some of Europe’s very few remaining grazed mosaic forest landscapes, the beautiful woodlands of Letea and Caraorman. Beavers are slowly making their return into the area, the area holds healthy populations of golden jackal while white-tailed eagles show a remarkable comeback.

The massive productivity of the many water habitats here has led to the delta harbouring the largest number of fish species anywhere in Europe. Flagship species of which are the four species of sturgeon, which once used to wander the entire length of the Danube river all the way up into Germany. The area has unprecedented potential for wetland restoration and rewilding, in particular the former polders and lakes can be reflooded and reconnected with the Danube river dynamics.

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The war in Ukraine is unfolding in a terrible way. We are doing what we can to help our team and partners that are living and working in the Danube Delta region.

With your donation, we will be able to purchase and transfer medicine, equipment and any other priority item to cover the needs of staff, employees and their families in Ukraine.


Rewilding vision

For each rewilding landscape we developed an inspiring vision that shows our ambition for the next ten years. Together with our local partners we work to make this vision a reality.

What are we doing here?

Using natural dynamics as drivers of change

One of the least populated areas in Europe, the Danube Delta offers a unique opportunity to restore a whole spectrum of biodiverse habitats – from open estuarine systems, naturally grazed grassland and vast reed beds through to freshwater marshes, coastal lagoons, shallow lakes, riverine forests and steppes.

Working with partners, the rewilding team is working to significantly improve the ecological integrity and natural functioning of 40,000 hectares of wetland and steppe habitat, using rewilding principles at on a landscape scale. Revitalised and self-governing natural processes, particularly flooding and natural grazing, will govern landscape formation, driving other natural processes, wildlife comeback, increased biodiversity and the development of a nature-based economy.

Promoting a nature-based economy

The Danube Delta region is economically depressed, with high levels of unemployment, rural depopulation, low living standards and a strong dependence on natural resources. There is therefore a continuous risk of unsustainable and unwanted development in this sensitive landscape. The war in Ukraine is having a huge impact on the society and the economy of the region.

Rewilding Europe is working to create new opportunities for delta communities by supporting the development of nature-based business. We establish best pratice models, provide business development support, and, where possible, financial support through Rewilding Europe Capital, which in turn, creates incentives for restoration, encourages acceptance of wildlife comeback, and instills a strong sense of pride in the local area.

In collaboration with partners, we are also working to construct nature tourism infrastructure, such as wildlife watching towers, panels and hides. The Rewilding Europe enterprise team is backing this up with theoretical and practical training sessions on the provision of wildlife watching activities.

“Danube Delta is a truly unique ecosystem”

Mykhailo Nesterenko

Mykhailo Nesterenko
Rewilding Ukraine team leader

How would you characterise your rewilding landscape?
The Danube Delta is Europe’s largest remaining natural wetland – a truly unique ecosystem. The delta region includes extensive examples of unaltered rivers, lakes, reed beds, marshes, steppes, dunes, sandbars, coasts, lagoons, salt marshes and climax forests. Local communities in the Danube Delta (the Danube Delta Sub-Basin District supports more than one million people) have little knowledge and limited capacity to use ecosystems in an economically and ecologically sustainable way, directly impacting living standards and biodiversity. With the delta acting as a historic crossroads, this is an extremely diverse region in terms of nationalities, with each preserving its customs and traditions.

What have the major achievements been in your rewilding landscape to date?
The restoration of large islands in the Danube Biosphere Reserve, one of the most successful wetland restoration projects in the region. Also a number of community-based projects, in collaboration with the muncipality of Orlovka. These have included local wetland restoration, the reintroduction of water buffalo for natural grazing, and the establishment of a nature park to generate income for the community. We now take this work further as Rewilding Ukraine.

What would you like to see achieved in your rewilding landscape in the next five years?
We have a fairly ambitious plan to restore large wetlands in the Danube Delta, as well as steppes in the Danube Delta region. I would also like to see more large herbivores introduced, and the further development of several nature-based economic initiatives. All of this will build on our past success and the partnerships that we have forged over almost two decades of conservation work on the Ukrainian side of the delta.

Our main achievements

Image gallery

Team members

Mykhailo Nesterenko

Team leader, Ukraine

Serban Ion

Enterprise Officer, Romania

Kateryna Kurakina

Communications officer, Ukraine

Oleg Dyakov

Rewilding Officer

Robert Negru

Wetland Restoration Officer

Tetiana Galiutkina

Financial officer

Alexey Pudovkin

Rewilding Consultant

Olena Gavran

F&A assistant

Board members

Rewilding Danube Delta
Stefan Constantinescu
Serban Ion
Deli Saavedra
Rewilding Ukraine
Joseph Chernichko
Nataliya Zakorchevnaya
Igor Studennikov


Rewilding Europe works with four main partners in the Danube Delta. Rewilding Danube Delta, registered in Tulcea (Romania), Rewilding Ukraine, registered in Odessa (Ukraine), Verde e Moldova’ in Moldova and WWF-Romania. 

These local partners have their own local partners, such as Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority in Romania, Danube Biosphere Reserve in Ukraine, the Danube Delta Research Institute (INCDDD) in Romania, and the municipality of Sfântu Gheorghe, also in Romania.



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