20 Endangered Species in Ukraine • The Revelator


The Russian bombs falling on Ukraine endanger millions of people and a vibrant culture.

Vladimir Putin’s invading forces could also damage Ukraine’s landscape, which is home to dozens of unique and endangered species.

Here are 20 species that could be further threatened by the invasion.

Russian Desman (Desmana Moschata) – The only member of its genus, this critically endangered semiaquatic mammal is related to moles (and like moles, it is functionally blind). The species, which is found in Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine — and recently went extinct in nearby Belarus — is in decline due to poachers’ fishing nets and habitat loss. It became extinct in Ukraine in the 19th century but was reintroduced there in the 1950s – around the same time Joseph Stalin died.

sand moss (Spalax-Arenius) – This endangered species is a rodent found only in Ukraine and has only one remaining stronghold, the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve, which could stand firmly in the way of Putin’s invading forces.

Crimean mountain ash (Sorbus taurikola) — This rare plant, native only to Ukraine, is found in only 3-5 locations where an invasive wasp called rowan seed chalcid (Megastigmus brevicaudis) damages 99% of its seeds before they can become the next generation.

Vitrea nadejdae — This critically endangered snail is only known from five places in Ukraine, each of which is (or was) a popular tourist destination.

saker falcon (Falcon Cherrug)—This widespread but critically endangered species faces a variety of threats throughout its range. The birds do not breed in Ukraine, but they spend time there every year. Ukraine’s Birds of Prey Research Center describes the country’s population as “extremely endangered”. War will not make the nation more hospitable.

Zubowski’s plump bush cricket (Isophya zubowskii) – Most of the habitat of this endangered insect is in Romania, but its populations in Moldova and Ukraine are described as “very small and isolated.”

Idanvaskinen (Orthonevra Plumbago) – This hoverfly has historically been found in more than a dozen European countries, but according to the IUCN, “All of the proposed 10 localities could be so small that they are in danger of immediate extinction.”

Betula klokovii — This birch, endemic to Ukraine, is only found in two mountain locations. Its population has declined to about 50 adult individuals, mostly due to mining and chalk quarrying.

Pontian Shemaya (Alburnus sarmaticus) — This critically endangered carp may have died out in Hungary and Romania, but it remains in Croatia, Slovenia, and Ukraine. Its current population is unknown.

Crimean Stone Grasshopper (Asiotmethis tauricus) — This endangered insect is found only in a small part of Ukraine, including Crimea. It also lived in Russia, but its continued presence in that country is uncertain. Most of its former habitat has been converted to farmland.

Melanogaster jaroslavensis — This fruit fly is only known from seven sites in Russia and one in Ukraine. Grazing, manure pollution and river development have endangered it.

Chornaya gudgeon (Gobio delyamurei) — This critically endangered carp is restricted to a 1-kilometer stretch of stream below the Chornaya Gorge in Ukraine. The IUCN, which has not evaluated the species since 2008, warns that this tiny habitat “could dry out completely in the summer,” adding that “the species is also vulnerable to climate change, with drought severity expected to increase.” “.

Retowski’s bush cricket (Anadrymadusa retowskii) — Native only to Ukraine, this insect is endangered due to habitat destruction. The IUCN warns that some of their highly fragmented populations “may become extinct.”

DDanMar, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sorbus roopiana — Ukraine is one of the four countries where this plant still grows, although according to the IUCN, “the populations in Crimea are separated from the main part of their distribution”. It is believed that fewer than 100 individuals remain on Earth.

Merodon dzhalitae — An endangered hoverfly found only in Crimea that has been largely dismembered by urbanization.

Medicago saxatilis — An endangered herb with no common name, known from only five locations in Crimea.

Andrea Labiatula — This Ukrainian bee has not been seen since 1963 and is only known from three specimens found on the Crimean peninsula. It is officially classified as critically endangered.

Cobitis taurica — This poorly studied freshwater fish, a relative of the European loach, lives less than a mile down a river from the Chornaya Gorge.

Leek pervestitum — This plant, related to garlic, grows in only two regions of Ukraine. Limestone quarrying and urbanization has put it on the endangered species list.

Фискомитриум песчаный (Physcomitrium arenicola) — This endangered moss grows in Russia and Ukraine, where it is threatened by intensive grazing and tree plantations. Scientists don’t know how thriving the species is – only that it’s rare. The IUCN says their populations are “considered to be highly fragmented as the subpopulations are small and isolated from one another”.

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is publisher of The Revealer. An award-winning environmental journalist whose work has appeared in Scientific American, Audubon, motherboard, and numerous other journals and publications. His Extinction Countdown column has run continuously since 2004 and has covered news and science on more than 1,000 endangered species. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Science Writers. John lives on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon where he is surrounded by animals and cartoonists.


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