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What’s kept us busy in making the Rhodope Mountains a wilder place

Griffon Vulture’s population in Rhodope mountains in Bulgaria remains stable

Griffon Vulture’s population in Rhodope mountains in Bulgaria remains stable. In February 89 griffon vulture pairs was registered in the Eastern Rhodopes within the regular monitoring of the species, number equal to the previous year. The Rhodope Mountains rewilding area is the only breeding area of the indigenous griffon vulture population in Bulgaria.

Less roosting griffon vultures in Rhodope mountains in 2017

Fewer  griffon vultures were counted this year  at the annual census of griffon vultures on the Balkan Peninsula. This year, barely 145 griffon vultures were counted along Arda River in Rhodope Mountains rewilding area, 40 fewer than in 2016. The area is home of the largest colony of griffon vultures in Bulgaria. Last year a record number of 178 griffon vultures were sighted,the highest registered during the annual roost count in the Eastern Rhodopes since 2005.

Seven more artificial nests attract black vultures in the Eastern Rhodopes

This autumn seven more artificial nests will attract black vultures in the Rhodope mountains in Bulgaria. In 2016 the first three nests for the rare birds  were built and are now numbering 10 nests. Black vultures have disappeared from Bulgaria some decades ago. The idea of ​​artificial nests is to attract birds from Dadia National Park in neighboring Greece to settle in the Eastern Rhodopes and gradually rebuild the population.

WWF Greece’s Anti-poison team in action

First Anti-poison Dog Unit in Bulgaria started patrolling in Rhodope Mountains in 2016. The main objective of the Unit is to create poison-free areas by controlling and removing poisoned baits before they can cause damage. However, pioneers on the Balkans are two Greek Canine Teams especially trained for the detection of poison baits. Since 2014 WWF Greece and Hellenic Ornithological Society are working in Thrace and Central Greece. Patrols cover mainly the territories of last Egyptian vultures in Greece, but not only. Here is an insight into the work of the WWF Greece’s Anti-poison team.

Five more black vultures tagged as LIFE Vultures project progresses

The birds, tagged with GPS transmitters in Dadia National Park in Greece, will offer additional insight into black vulture behaviour and movement on and around the Balkan Peninsula. By supporting conservation measures, this will hopefully reinforce the comeback of this magnificent yet endangered species.