Bearded vulture

Reviving the Skies: Reintroduction of the Bearded Vulture in Bulgaria and the Balkans

On August 1st, an international project titled “Life for the Bearded Vulture” (project #101113869 LIFE22-NAT-BG-Bearded Vulture LIFE) was launched to reintroduce the Bearded Vulture, a symbol of Bulgarian nature protection to Bulgaria and the Balkan Peninsula.

The initiative brings together the efforts of 8 partners from 3 European countries, with the coordinating beneficiary being “Green Balkans – Stara Zagora” NGO. The project partners include organizations such as Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna, Foundation EkoObshtnost, EVN – Elektropradelenie Yug EAD, Severozapadno Darzhavno Predpriyatie – Vratsa, “Sinite kamani” Nature Park Directorate from Bulgaria, Vulture Conservation Foundation from the Netherlands, and the Milvus group from Romania.

The project has received support from the Governments of Extremadura and Andalusia, Spain, who will contribute Cinereous Vultures for release in Bulgaria. VCF (Vulture Conservation Foundation) will secure Bearded Vultures for release in Bulgaria through coordination with the Bearded Vulture EEP.

The primary objective of the “Life for the Bearded Vulture” project is twofold: first, to establish a thriving Bearded Vulture population in Bulgaria and the Balkans; and second, to strengthen the existing population of reintroduced Black Vultures. Additionally, in Romania, the project will initiate a vulture recovery program.

Bearded Vulture

The project encompasses a range of activities to enhance the nesting conditions for vultures, improve the food base through supporting local animal breeders and reintroducing the Balkan Chamois, and bolster populations of essential prey species like the Rock Partridge, European Souslik and Tortoises in key areas of the project.

Threat mitigation measures include securing dangerous electric poles to reduce electrocution mortality, combatting crimes against nature, such as placing poisonous baits and poaching and enhancing the capacity of responsible national institutions.

The project will closely monitor the outcome of reintroductions by marking and tracking vultures with satellite transmitters. Additionally, it aims to establish an effective network of local supporters to aid distressed vultures in Bulgaria and neighbouring countries.

Bearded vulture

Promotion and transfer of experience are essential aspects of the project, with efforts directed toward sharing Bulgaria’s experience in vulture reintroduction with Romania. Educational activities targeting students and workshops for state and municipal administrations, hunters, farmers, and others are planned to raise awareness and promote vulture conservation.

Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna has long pursued the goal of reintroducing the Bearded Vulture in Bulgaria. With the collaborative efforts of all project partners, this aspiration is on the verge of becoming a reality.

The LIFE program of the European Union finances the “Life for the Bearded Vulture” project (project 101113869 LIFE22-NAT-BG-Bearded Vulture LIFE).

The opinions expressed in the news are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the European Union’s or CINEA’s views. Neither the European Union nor the grant provider can be held responsible for the opinions expressed.

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