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Study reveals environmental impact of Kakhovka Dam breach
83,000 hectares of land, the size of Kyiv, has been flooded downstream by the dam breach.
The findings will support biodiversity recovery in the region.

A rapid assessment of the Kakhovka Dam region in southern Ukraine has revealed the environmental and biodiversity damage caused by the flooding.

With the area still an active warzone, researchers from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH) and HR Wallingford had to use the latest technology to perform the assessment within weeks of the dam being breached in June.

Previous studies have only been possible after wars, limiting the potential for targeted biodiversity restoration within post-conflict recovery planning.

The study aimed to examine the region’s ecology, identifying the protected habitats and species that might be affected by the breach. This would enable early action in future conflicts.

The report found that 83,000 hectares of land, the size of Kyiv, had been flooded downstream by the dam breach.

This left the Kakhovka Reservoir almost completely emptied, causing thousands of fish to be washed out or stranded. An estimated 28,000 crucian carp, totalling 95,000 tonnes, are thought to be impacted.

Of the 567 species affected by a range of hazards, 28 are considered to be globally threatened or worse. This includes the Great Bustard, the Harbour porpoise and the European mink.

The slender-billed curlew, which is on the verge of extinction, could also have been affected.

UKCEH estimated that half a million hectares of protected freshwater and terrestrial habitats, both upstream and downstream of the dam, were exposed to hazards. As well as erosion, 1,000 potential sources of pollution were identified, such as petrol stations and landfills.

The report also identified that the flooding could have long-term effects on the environment, human health and the economy. Researchers also recommended future action.

Prof Bryan Spears of UKCEH said: “We hope that our assessment provides a baseline against which to assess biodiversity and habitat impacts and recovery related to the Kakhovka Dam breach.

“It is now important that the results of this and other assessments are scrutinised fully by the wider scientific community, allowing biodiversity restoration to be incorporated within post-conflict recovery planning at an early stage.”

The full report is available here, with a commentary in the journal Nature, Ecology and Evolution.

Image © Reuters/Inna Varenytsia

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Rabbit Awareness Week set to return this summer

News Story 1
 Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) is returning this summer, running from 24-28 June 2024. The theme for this year will be 'Healthy Diet, Happy Bunnies'.

The focus on rabbits' diet comes after the most recent PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report report revealed that 42 per cent of veterinary professionals identified inappropriate diet as one of the five most important rabbit welfare issues that need to be address.

The campaign will include veterinary blogs, videos, and digital waiting room resources. Practices can sign up to receive updates about RAW. 

Click here for more...
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CVS Group hit by cyber attack

CVS Group, which owns more than 450 veterinary practices in the UK, has been hit by a cyber attack.

In a statement, the group said the incident involved unauthorised external access to a limited number of its IT systems. As soon as the attack was discovered, the group took its IT systems temporarily offline, causing 'considerable operational disruption'.

It has warned that the security steps taken and ongoing plans to move its operational systems and IT infrastructure to the Cloud are likely to have an ongoing impact over a number of weeks.

Due to the risk that personal information was accessed, CVS has informed the Information Commissioner's Office. The company is working with third party consultants to investigate the incident.