The last Carpathian buffaloes
Transcarpathia is a remote place. It is geographically isolated by mountain chains and politically isolated by the boarder of the European Union. Only four roads connect Transcarpathia with the rest of Ukraine. In this remote location a typical culture, nature and agriculture have formed historically and in part can still be found today. On the „Arc and Rescue Station Saldobosch“, a former colchose in the village of Steblivka Michel Jacobi coordinates the breeding of the last remaining 60 to 70 Carpathian buffaoes and keeps on the farm one herd of buffaloes and one herd of Huzul horses plus other local types of domestic animals.
„The Carpathian buffalo is the most impressive and most rare domestic animal in Europe. However this fascinating and intelligent animal does not fit into an economically oriented agriculture, because to keep them and especially to milk them requires a lot of patience and empathy“, says Michel Jacobi, who studied forest and environment management in Freiburg (Germany) and started the project to save the Carpathian buffaloes in 2008. He tries to gather the knowledge about these unique and headstrong animals and pass it on, because in Transcarpathia only a few elderly people still have this traditonal knowledge.
The plans for the near future include establishing a market for high quality buffaloe mozzarella, organising riding excursions for tourists and to become a part of one of the nationalparks in the Carpathian mountains.
This is the story of a couragous individual, who with the help of shepards and local friends, as well as helpers and supporters form all over the world works on saving the Carpathian buffalo, and with it a piece of nature, culture and agrobiodiversity, which has already disappeared in the rest of Europe.