A great Biosphere reserve Askania-Nova is situated in the South of Ukrainian steppe in the Kherson Region. Reserve steppe consists of 3 massifs: Northern, Southern and Great Chapel Massif and also perelogs where one has researched the processes of natural vegetation restore since 1966. Biosphere reserve Askania-Nova was established in 1828 and in 1856 it was bought by Flaz-Fein family. The history the history of the development of Askania-Nova starts from the hobby of ten-year-old Friedrich: breeding local birds in aviaries he received as a gift from his father. People called Friedrich Flaz-Fein “the Askanian Darvin”. After visiting dozen of zoos and botanical gardens around the world he implemented the newest techniques of animal breeding. To carry on his experiments he consulted with leading scientists on the selection of domestic animals, as well as acclimatization and breeding of rare species. At the middle of the 19th century Askania-Nova has become the third-large private zoo in Europe.
Today there are more than 500 species of grass and flowers in the Askania-Nova steppe, 85 of which are native. It’s almost impossible to render the diversity of scents which are inherent only to the wild steppe. Besides steppe changes its palette. In the end of April one can observe bright colors of various steppe flowers playing on the grey background of the old grass. Ukrainian feather-grass makes the steppe to look like the sea. Some time later the steppe turns to many-colored carpet. 51% of all herbs belong to the perennial herbs. 13 kinds of plants, 3 kinds of mushrooms and 4 kinds of lichens are in Red Data Book of Ukraine. 6 kinds of flowers of askanian flora enter the international red lists.
Askania-Nova hosts more than 2500 species of animallos, 69 of which are listed in the Red Data Book of Ukraine and twelve in the international list of the protected animals. Animal world of reserve steppe saved its native fauna except some prominent kinds of mammals and birds. Here reside typical representatives of the steppe landscape. In the rich grass there are more than 1155 insects. There are 18 kinds of mammals, in different seasons one can observe more than 270 kinds of birds, 170 of which stay here for nesting.
The Biosphere reserve consists of 11 054 hectares of steppe, near it located a national sylvicultural park covering 167 hectares and zoo with animals living in close to wild conditions. The herds are kept on the area of 2 300 hectares. The total area of Biosphere reservation Askania-Nova is 33 300 hectares.
The Great Chapel Massif is a unique depression which is characterized by periodical filling with melted snow. In the deepest part grow hydrophytes. In this area there is the highest concentration of flowers – 368 kinds On the territory of the Great Chapel Massif in the natural conditions reside the herds of wild hoofed from different continents.