The Hutsulshchyna National Nature Park (NNP) is a place where nature and culture converge, making it a perfect place to learn about the natural environment and the cultural heritage of local communities. One of the top priorities is to ensure the development of sustainable tourism to ensure the preservation of the NNP’s environment and unique identity. 

The Hutsulshchyna NNP is situated in the Pokutsk-Bukovyna Carpathians, within the boundaries of the Kosiv district of the Ivano-Frankivsk region. The park’s vast and invaluable forests cover more than 95% of its area.

Park area 322,71 Sq km.

1472 m
the highest is Gregit mount
types of plants
Number of animals (species)
natural monuments of local importance
icon-Lake (1)
animal species
icon-Path (1)
ecological and educational trails
rock sanctuaries

According to a 2017 survey, the park is home to 979 hectares of quasi-virgin old growth forest and some 510 hectares of beech and spruce primeval forest. It is a rare natural habitat for wildlife such as roe deer, wild boars, brown bears, lynxes, and forest cats. 1,214 species of mushrooms and other fungi have been identified in the park, of which 23 are listed in the Red Book of Ukraine.

The Hutsulshchyna NNP comprises a mosaic of mountains, forests, rivers, meadows, and geological formations, that support an incredible array of flora and fauna. The park is also steeped in historical and cultural heritage of local communities. It is a region defined by enchanting traditions, including folk crafts, local history, ethnographic museums, captivating festivals, and ritual events, all of which lend a unique identity.

Traditional Hutsul folk crafts such as carpet weaving, pysanky easter eggs, carving, and embroidery have been preserved throughout the ages. Kosiv painted ceramics – traditional handcrafts such as dishes, ceremonial items, toys, and tiles – are included on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Cooperation with the Frankfurt Zoological Society

Overcoming the challenges caused by war. Since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Hutsulshchyna National Nature Park (NNP) has provided shelter for internally displaced persons. It was a difficult task for the park to adapt to become a refuge center: FZS offered support in preparing accommodation for the hundreds of people seeking refuge from the effects of the war. With support from partners in Romania, Germany, Poland, and Slovakia, FZS provided essential items including medicines, warm clothes, hygiene products, and food supplies. FZS also financed the purchase of a generator that enables the park’s administration team to continue essential operations without interruption. 

Support for creating management plans. FZS aims to conserve wildlife and ecosystems, focusing on protected areas and outstanding wild places. FZS supports the Hutsulshchyna NNP in carrying out its main conservation tasks. 

As part of the implementation of the project “Conservation of highly valuable primeval and old-growth forests in selected national parks in the Ukrainian Carpathians”, joint development of the organization of the territory to manage conservation efforts is being carried out. This consists of several stages: 

  • The assessment of the biological, ecological, sociological and cultural values and resources of the park and their condition, threats, and impact. 
  • The definition of a 10-year conservation strategy. 
  • The development of a five-year action plan to achieve maximum results in preserving the condition of high conservation value aspects of the park.

The development of the territory organization project is carried out by a team of FZS experts, specialists working for the NNP, and a group of local stakeholders who are connected to the park’s activities, use the territory, and have an influence on decision-making regarding the park’s activities. The term of development of the territory organization project lasts from October 2022 to June 2024.

Expansion and consolidation of nature conservation areas. Since 2013, FZS has supported and contributed to efforts to expand the Hutsulshchyna NNP. Initially, the priority is to ensure that lands within the park are designated areas of permanent conservation – including areas that are currently under state management such as the Kutsky Forest Farm. At present only 24% of the total area of the territory of the park has a permanent conservation status. Therefore, park employees cannot effectively manage environmental or properly ensure compliance with regulations. Efforts to address this, in coordination with the FZS team, has led to significant progress – including much-needed forestry reform measures that were implemented in 2023.

Biodiversity monitoring. To qualitatively monitor the state of biodiversity in the Hutsulshchyna NNP, FZS utilizes the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) system.  The system helps to collect, measure, and evaluate biodiversity data effectively and efficiently. Smartphones and other necessary equipment were purchased and provided to park security personnel. Additionally, training and ongoing user support is provided. Acoustic receivers have been deployed to collect data on birds and bats, enabling species identification and population estimates. Since 2021, camera traps have been used to monitor large predators.  

Eco-educational activity. FZS supports environmental education initiatives in Ukraine’s national nature parks and reserves. One example is the “Friends of Nature” children’s camp, which has been held at the Hutsulshchyna NNP for several years in a row. Such events provide an interactive platform for children to understand the importance of protected areas and learn the most environmentally beneficial ways of interacting with nature.

Cooperation with communities and support of nature-friendly business. As part of the implementation of the “Preservation of high-value virgin forests and ancient forests in selected national parks in the Ukrainian Carpathians” project, FZS is supporting the establishment of the Hutsul Horse Center. The center will offer horse riding and carriage rides for park visitors.

Operating cost support. Due to constraints on state funding as a result of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, FZS has been providing ongoing financial support for the implementation of the conservation plan in the nature reserve since May 2022. This assistance includes procuring office space, communications support, fuel expenses, and maintenance and repair costs for vehicles. 

Improving the ability to perform environmental protection tasks. As part of the “Conservation of highly valuable primeval and old-growth forests in selected national parks in the Ukrainian Carpathians, of which FZS is the main partner, uniforms for security personnel were provided, as well as computer and IT equipment for park employees.

What do we do

By combining international experience with local knowledge and expertise, we support the preservation of the large areas of pristine and near-pristine nature in Ukraine. We mainly do this by supporting projects in major protected areas such as national parks, biosphere reserves, and large nature reserves.