Buffalo farm (Steblivka village)
Khust district Park

Buffalo farm (Steblivka village)

Steblivka village

In the tiny village of Steblivka in the Western Ukrainian region of Transcarpathia, a German veterinarian has come up with a plan to save a vanishing breed of buffalo native to the region. The 'Carpathian buffalo' are descendants of animals brought in the 15th century by Tatar invaders to Europe.
The buffalo, which have hard hooves and thick, long coats adapted to this mountainous region, lived in the wild and on farms, much like those in the American West, but lately their numbers have dwindled dangerously. The challenges to their survival are many: the break-up of the Soviet Union left the area without a co-ordinated breeding strategy for the animals; farmers found it easier to raise cattle; the younger generation is increasingly turning away from traditional rural life; and irrigation improvements in the region and other environmental changes eradicated the wild buffalo's preferred swampy environment.
Michel Jacobi learned about the buffalo when he came to region to work on his veterinary degree. The 28-year-old German decided to stay in Ukraine and in 2009 founded a non-governmental organisation, "Safeguard for Agrobiodiversity in Transcarpathia."
Jacobi and his group work closely with the Save Foundation, which has been keeping a careful eye on buffalo stock numbers in Transcarpathia since 1998. Then, there were 65 buffalo in the area. In 2008, they only found 38 animals.

     

Khust district

Park Khust district