Askania Nova Biosphere Reserve is the world famous national park of Ukraine, it is also one of the oldest and largest biosphere reserves in Europe, located in a remote part of the Kherson steppe. Nowadays, this unique island of untouched nature, where many rare animal and bird species live, is recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine and is a part of the world network of UNESCO’s biosphere reserves.
It is located in Chaplinka near Kherson oblast and covers an area of 33.3 thousand hectares, including reserve steppe (core) zone and a buffer zone of a typical land use. It is considered one of the oldest steppe Biosphere Reserve on the planet and the largest among European steppe reserves.
A lover of nature, Baron Friedrich Falz-Fein, established this wildlife preserve at the end of 19th century. He gave up his lands in order to save the unique steppe and its inhabitants. Later, having traveled to zoos and botanical gardens all over the world, the environmentalist began to bring to ‘Askania-Nova’ exotic animals, birds, and plants that seemed unfit to live on a steppe. But some animal species not only adapted to their new habitat, but even began to flourish. Just two years later, almost two thousand species of mammals were living on the reserve.
These days over 1,000 animals, such as zebra and antelope, bison and buffalo, deer and wild horses live in semi-free conditions in Askania Nova. Six species are extinct in their homelands and remain only in Askania. The zoo’s unique collection includes of Indian and African antelopes, zebras, Scottish ponies, wild Przewalski's horses, saigas, and many more. The variety of birds in ‘Askania-Nova’ is impressive as well: these are white and black swans, cranes, flamingos, bustards, emus, parrots, and many other rare species.
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The best way to enjoy picturesque landscapes of the wildlife preserve and its unique inhabitants is to go on a safari by car or horseback. Larger groups are offered a trip in a minivan. It is not very easy to get to the preserve on public transport. The best way is to go to Nova Khahovka, which is located 75 kilometers from Askania, and take a taxi from there to the preserve.
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