During the last few weeks, 11 black vultures were equipped with satellite transmitters in Dadia National Park, in the Greek part of the Rhodope Mountains. These transmitters will provide important scientific data about the distribution, movements and possible threats, which will further help identify future conservation actions for the species in this region. These actions are part of the LIFE Vultures project.
What’s kept us busy in making the Rhodope Mountains a wilder place
This summer, seven griffon vultures – four adults and three young – were fitted with satellite transmitters in the breeding colony near Madzarhovo in the Bulgarian Rhodope Mountains. The first interesting results about their movements are already being revealed, with one young bird undertaking a long journey to the southeast. The vulture flew across two continents and six countries, and is still exploring the hot Middle Eastern territories.
This October, Rewilding Rhodopes organized a special training course on the management and development of wildlife watching enterprise and wildlife photography in Madzharovo, Bulgaria. The training was part of the LIFE Project “Conservation of black and griffon vultures in Rhodope Mountains” (LIFE Vultures), and connected more than 30 participants that gained valuable knowledge, exchanged experiences and ideas.
Just after we officially launched the first Anti-Poison Dog Unit last week, Bulgaria witnessed a serious new case of poisoning in the Eastern Rhodopes close to the Greek border. In just a few days time, seven wolves, five shepherd dogs, one wild boar, two foxes, one hedgehog and one stone marten were found near a poisoned bait. A griffon vulture was also considered as a casualty of poisoning.
New case of poisoned animal in the Eastern Rhodopes was registered this Sunday. This time the authorities and experts from Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds and Green Balkans found wild boar after a signal from concerned hunters from the region of Strazhets, Krumovgrad.
This summer, Nikolay Terziev from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) spent nearly two months in Hungary where he was trained as dog handler for the first Antipoison Dog Unit in Bulgaria. The main objective of the Unit is to create poison-free areas by controlling and removing poisoned baits before they can cause damage.
Last Friday, the Life project “Conservation of Black and Griffon vultures in the cross-border Rhodope Mountains” held its opening ceremony during the International Vulture Awareness Day celebration in Bulgaria. The project focuses on the recovery and further expansion of black and griffon vulture populations in this part of the Balkan region, simultaneously developing nature based tourism thus providing long-term benefits for the local communities.
This March the first griffon vulture chick hatched in the Studen Kladenets Natura 2000 site, located in the core of the Rhodope Mountains rewilding area. With spring in full rise, more chicks will hatch in the coming weeks continuing the positive trend in the griffon vulture population in Bulgaria.
A major gathering of nature conservation organisations took place this week in Haskovo, Bulgaria. Members from Rewilding Europe, Rewilding Rhodopes, Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds/Birdlife Bulgaria, WWF Romania, WWF Greece, Vulture Conservation Foundation and Hellenic Ornithological Society/BirdLife Greece gathered for the kick-off meetings and training sessions of two LIFE funded projects that officially started on 1 January 2016.