Forty-five thousand species of animals inhabit the territory of Ukraine, including the water areas of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The vertebrates include fish (together with subspecies they number about 170 species), amphibians (17 species), reptiles (21 species), birds (about 400 species), and mammals (about 108 species).
The rest of the species are invertebrates (including 35,000 species of insects). A certain number of species of the animals of Ukraine are endemic and subendemic. The hydrofauna of the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and estuary cenoses includes 32 animal species of pontocaspian complex. For Ukraine 12 species of invertebrates are endemic. The peculiar centres of endemism in Ukraine are Carpathian and the Crimea.
Ukraine is crossed by one of the most important migratory ways of birds, including several endangered species. For example, in Ukraine nest or abide more than 100 species of birds out of 170 species listed in the addition to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds, which is signed within the framework of the Bonn Convention on the Protection of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. Some of them (Numenius tenuirostris, Grus grus, Himantopus himantopus, Charadrius alexandrinus, Acrocephalus paludicola) are included in other international «red» lists. The wetlands of southern Ukraine are places of particular importance. Some of them have international status and come within the scope of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat. For instance, on Syvash, which was entered in the list of wetlands of international importance of the Ramsar Convention, during only 10 days of work of an international expedition (August 1998), organized with the help of Wetlands International, about 1,400,000 thousand birds were counted.
Much attention is paid in Ukraine to the protection, rehabilitation and use of wild animals (mainly vertebrates because of their vulnerability and industrial value). The number of species entered in the Red Book of Ukraine has increased considerably. 382 species of animals (against 85 in 1980) were entered in the second edition of the book: hydro polyps (2 species), nematodes (2 species), annelida (7 species), cancroid (26 species), arachnida (2 species), centipedes (3 species), insects (173 species), mollusks (12 species), chubby-faced (2 species), fish (32 species), amphibians and reptiles (8 species), birds (67 species) and mammals (41 species). A considerable number of fauna species of Ukraine is entered in appendices of international treaties which Ukraine is (or will become) a party to.
The protection of species entered in the Red Book of Ukraine and international «red» lists is realized through a limitation of use, more severe reactions to illegal catching, and disparagement, establishing protected natural areas and objects in places of great importance for the animals, and drawing up and implementing joint international research programmes and plans.
Since 1997, as part of the implementation of the provisions of the Bern Convention on
the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, 10 species of mammals and 40
species of birds listed in Appendix II to the Convention have been studied to investigate
and assess the development of their populations. This assessment is still going on. Within
the framework of the Convention, action plans aimed at the preservation of big predators
and herbivorous animals of Europe, as well as two species of bats, have been prepared.
Aurochs was selected as one of the main species within the initiative «Big herbivorous
animals of Europe». The majority of the world population of aurochs can be found in
In the Carpatian region, within the framework of the Agreement on the Conservation of bats in Europe, the habitats of Miniopterus schreibersii have been studied. The investigations showed a considerable worsening of the population’s condition. For example, colonies of this species are no longer found in caves where they lived not long ago.