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The biosphere reserve Askania-Nova

Askania-Nova (Ukrainian: Асканія-Нова) is a biosphere reserve (sanctuary) located in Kherson Oblast, Ukraine, within the dry Taurida steppe near Oleshky Sands.

The reserve consists of the acclimatization zoo, arboretum and virgin steppe sanctuary(the last such area in Europe) and has total area of 825 km².


The nature reserve was established in 1898 by Friedrich-Jacob Eduardovych Falz-Fein (1863–1920) around the German colony of Askania-Nova, which only in 1890 became an organized settlement, Khutir.

In March 1919, Askania-Nova was confiscated from the Falz-Fein family by the Red Army as part of the state nationalization programme. The last owner refused to evacuate to Germany.

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In addition to local species it hosts ostriches, bisons, antelopes, wild horses, llamas, zebras and many bird species.
More than 200 species of foliaceous and coniferous plants were brought from different parts of the world and planted in the dendrologic garden during 1885 - 1902. About 600 higher plants (both perennial and annual), 16 species of which were entered to the Red Data Book of Ukraine, have been preserved in their primary natural form.

The reserve is known for the group of Przewalski's Horse, the largest group kept in captivity, living on area around 30 km².

The Askania-Nova wetland Great Chapli Depression is registered on the International list of Ramsar Convention and has an area of 4x6 km.

In 2008, Askania was named one of Seven Natural Wonders of Ukraine.