The Ukraine Government’s construction of a 160-kilometre shipping canal through the Danube Delta – Europe’s last great wetlands – is defying a chorus of condemnation from international environmental bodies, foreign governments and neighbouring Romania. All are worried by the potential damage the canal will inflict on the nesting sites of some of Europe’s rarest birds.
The Danube Delta is world famous for the richness and variety of its wildlife. It is home to more than 300 species of bird, 160 kinds of fish, including caviar-bearing sturgeon, and 800 types of plants, many of them found nowhere else on the Continent.
Romulus Stiuca, Director of the Romanian Danube Delta National Institute, says that casualties of the project will be many, starting with ‘the largest colony of pelicans in Europe’. Naturalists are already noting that hundreds of birds abandoned their nests this summer, almost certainly because of the noise from construction, which commenced in August this year.