Species conservation

Vultures

The four vulture species found naturally in Bulgaria are: Bearded Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Black Vulture, and Egyptian Vulture. At present, only Griffon and Egyptian Vultures are found as breeding species in Bulgaria. The presumption is that there are 1-2 breeding pairs of Black Vulture, but no nests have been found. The Bearded Vulture is an extinct species in Bulgaria, as in very rare cases vagrant individuals could be seen.

The main reasons for extinction of vultures are: abandonment of traditional grazing livestock breeding; use of poisons against terrestrial predators; and poaching.

What we do
Green Balkans’ vulture conservation program has been implemented since 1991, including the following activities:
- Study habitats and regions suitable for conservation and reintroduction of vultures;
- Provide artificial feeding at the feeding sites in the Eastern and Western Rhodopes and the Eastern Balkan Mountains;
- Place artificial nests;
- Implement campaigns against poisonous baits for terrestrial predators;
- Encourage the development of extensive livestock breeding in the target regions;
- Work for conservation and restoration of priority habitats;
- Implement information campaigns;
- Carry out telemetric tracking of birds marked with transmitters;
- Develop strategies and plans for reintroduction of vultures.

Since 2002, Green Balkans’ activities for the conservation of carrion-eating birds have been implemented within the Balkan Vulture Action Plan. These activities are carried out with the active cooperation of Black Vulture Conservation Foundation, Foundation for the Conservation of the Bearded Vulture, Frankfurt Zoological Society, and many other international experts and organizations!

Results

In 1993, Green Balkans’ experts found the only nest of a Black Vulture, which has been an extinct species for more than 100 years. Unfortunately, the pair was poisoned as a result of the poisonous baits used against wolves.
The biggest artificial feeding site for vultures in the Eastern Rhodopes has been built with the contribution of 80 volunteers of Green Balkans and 30 volunteers of the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.
For 10 years now, Green Balkans’ team has organized regular feeding of the rare vulture birds in the Eastern Rhodopes.
The Bearded Vulture – symbol of the Bulgarian nature conservation, has been an extinct species for more than 50 years. Green Balkans launched a reintroduction program in partnership with Black Vulture Conservation Foundation and Foundation for the Conservation of the Bearded Vulture, funded by Frankfurt Zoological Society, and DBU.
Expeditions in search of new habitats and areas suitable for the four vulture species are implemented on annual basis.
Artificial feeding site has been built by Green Balkans in the territory of Sinite Kamani Nature Park in partnership with the Park’s Directorate and with the support of the Ministry of Environment and Waters.
Together with the same Directorate, the Organization launched a program for reintroduction of the Griffon Vultures in Sinite Kamani Nature Park.
Green Balkans developed a National Plan and a Strategy for reintroduction of the Bearded Vulture in Bulgaria.
Ten publications were produced and more than twenty meetings and presentations were carried out involving local people and students; information signboards were also placed.
Since 2006, Green Balkans, in partnership with the WWF team from Dadia Reserve and BSPB, has been implementing a program for radio-telemetric tracking of marked Black Vultures from the Greek colony.

How you can help
- By participating in the feeding and monitoring at the vulture feeding sites;
- By taking part in the radio-telemetric tracking of birds tagged with transmitters;
- By joining the expeditions for studying habitats suitable for reintroduction of vultures;
- By signalizing of illegal use of poisonous baits against terrestrial predators;
- By getting involved in the awareness raising activities for conservation of vultures (presentations, dissemination of materials, etc.)
- By making a donation for the conservation of vultures in Bulgaria. See DONATIONS.

Green Balkans’ activities for the conservation of vultures are implemented with the financial support of and in partnership with the Frankfurt Zoological Society, Black Vulture Conservation Foundation, Foundation for the Conservation of the Bearded Vulture, EURONATUR, and Whitley Foundation.

More information about the Balkan Vulture Action Plan you can find at www.balkanvultures.net.
Action Plan and National Strategy for Restoration of the Nesting Population in Bulgaria 549 Kb (pdf) download
Viability Study for the Reintroduction of the Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) in the Western Rhodopes 13 Mb (pdf) download
Viability Study for the Reintroduction of the Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) in the Eastern Balkan Mountains and Royak-Provadia Plateau 11 Mb (pdf) download